Determinants of pulse wave velocity in healthy people and in the presence of cardiovascular risk factors: 'establishing normal and reference values'

Francesco U. S. Mattace-Raso, Albert Hofman, Germaine C. Verwoert, Jacqueline C. M. Witteman, Ian Wilkinson, John Cockcroft, Carmel McEniery, Yasmin, Stephane Laurent, Pierre Boutouyrie*, Erwan Bozec, Tine Willum Hansen, Christian Torp-Pedersen, Hans Ibsen, Jorgen Jeppesen, Sebastian J. Vermeersch, Ernst R. Rietzschel, Marc De Buyzere, Thierry C. Gillebert, Luc M Van BortelPatrick Segers, Charalambos Vlachopoulos, Constantinos Aznaouridis, Christodoulos Stefanadis, Athanase Benetos, Carlos Labat, Patrick Lacolley, Coen D. A. Stehouwer, Giel Nijpels, Jacqueline M. Dekker, Isabel Ferreira, Jos W R Twisk, Sebastien Czernichow, Pilar Galan, Serge Hercberg, Bruno Pannier, Alain Guerin, Gerard M. London, John Kennedy Cruickshank, Simon G. Anderson, Anna Paini, Enrico Agabiti Rosei, Maria Lorenza Muiesan, Massimo Salvetti, Jan Filipovsky, Jitka Seidlerova, Milena Dolejsova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV), a direct measure of aortic stiffness, has become increasingly important for total cardiovascular (CV) risk estimation. Its application as a routine tool for clinical patient evaluation has been hampered by the absence of reference values. The aim of the present study is to establish reference and normal values for PWV based on a large European population. We gathered data from 16 867 subjects and patients from 13 different centres across eight European countries, in which PWV and basic clinical parameters were measured. Of these, 11 092 individuals were free from overt CV disease, non-diabetic and untreated by either anti-hypertensive or lipid-lowering drugs and constituted the reference value population, of which the subset with optimal/normal blood pressures (BPs) (n = 1455) is the normal value population. Prior to data pooling, PWV values were converted to a common standard using established conversion formulae. Subjects were categorized by age decade and further subdivided according to BP categories. Pulse wave velocity increased with age and BP category; the increase with age being more pronounced for higher BP categories and the increase with BP being more important for older subjects. The distribution of PWV with age and BP category is described and reference values for PWV are established. Normal values are proposed based on the PWV values observed in the non-hypertensive subpopulation who had no additional CV risk factors. The present study is the first to establish reference and normal values for PWV, combining a sizeable European population after standardizing results for different methods of PWV measurement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2338-2350
JournalEuropean Heart Journal
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arteries
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Blood pressure
  • Humans
  • Pulse
  • Pulse wave velocity
  • Stiffness


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