Arterial stiffness index beta and cardio-ankle vascular index inherently depend on blood pressure but can be readily corrected

Bart Spronck*, Alberto P. Avolio, Isabella Tan, Mark Butlin, Koen D. Reesink, Tammo Delhaas

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objectives: Arterial stiffness index beta and cardio-ankle vascular index (CAVI) are widely accepted to quantify the intrinsic exponent (beta(0)) of the blood pressure (BP)-diameter relationship. CAVI and b assume an exponential relationship between pressure (P) and diameter (d). We aim to demonstrate that, under this assumption, beta and CAVI as currently implemented are inherently BP-dependent and to provide corrected, BP-independent forms of CAVI and beta.

Methods and results: In P = P(ref)e(beta 0[(d/dref)-1)], usually reference pressure (P-ref) and reference diameter (d(ref)) are substituted with DBP and diastolic diameter to accommodate measurements. Consequently, the resulting exponent is not equal to the pressure-independent beta(0). CAVI does not only suffer from this 'reference pressure' effect, but also from the linear approximation of (dP=dd). For example, assuming beta(0) = 7, an increase of SBP/DBP from 110/70 to 170/120mmHg increased beta by 8.1% and CAVI by 14.3%. We derived corrected forms of b and of CAVI (CAVI(0)) that indeed did not change with BP and represent the pressure-independent beta(0). To substantiate the BP effect on CAVI in a typical follow-up study, we realistically simulated patients (n = 161) before and following BP-lowering 'treatment' (assuming no follow-up change in intrinsic beta(0) and therefore in actual P-d relationship). Lowering BP from 160 +/- 14/111 +/- 11 to 120 +/- 15/79 +/- 11 mmHg (p <0.001) resulted in a significant CAVI decrease (from 8.1 +/- 2.0 to 7.7 +/- 2.1, p = 0.008); CAVI(0) did not change (9.8 +/- 2.4 and 9.9 +/- 2.6, p = 0.499).

Conclusion: beta and CAVI as currently implemented are inherently BP-dependent, potentially leading to erroneous conclusions in arterial stiffness trials. BP-independent forms are presented to readily overcome this problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-104
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hypertension
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • arterial stiffness
  • arteriosclerosis
  • blood pressure correction
  • carotid compliance
  • hypertension
  • pulse wave velocity
  • CAVI
  • AGE

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