Effect of Heart Rate on Arterial Stiffness as Assessed by Pulse Wave Velocity

Isabella Tan, Mark Butlin, Bart Spronck, Hanguang Xiao, Alberto Avolio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


Vascular assessment is becoming increasingly important in the diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases. In particular, clinical assessment of arterial stiffness, as measured by pulse wave velocity (PWV), is gaining increased interest due to the recognition of PWV as an influential factor on the prognosis of hypertension as well as being an independent predictor of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. Whilst age and blood pressure are established as the two major determinants of PWV, the influence of heart rate on PWV measurements remains controversial with conflicting results being observed in both acute and epidemiological studies. In a majority of studies investigating the acute effects of heart rate on PWV, results were confounded by concomitant changes in blood pressure. Observations from epidemiological studies have also failed to converge, with approximately just half of such studies reporting a significant blood-pressure-independent association between heart rate and PWV. Further to the lack of consensus on the effects of heart rate on PWV, the possible mechanisms contributing to observed PWV changes with heart rate have yet to be fully elucidated, although many investigators have attributed heart-rate related changes in arterial stiffness to the viscoelasticity of the arterial wall. With elevated heart rate being an independent prognostic factor of cardiovascular disease and its association with hypertension, the interaction between heart rate and PWV continues to be relevant in assessing cardiovascular risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-122
Number of pages16
JournalCurrent hypertension reviews
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Arterial Pressure
  • Arteries/physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases/diagnosis
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Models, Cardiovascular
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Pulse Wave Analysis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Vascular Stiffness


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