Options for Dealing with Pressure Dependence of Pulse Wave Velocity as a Measure of Arterial Stiffness: An Update of Cardio-Ankle Vascular Index (CAVI) and CAVI0

Bart Spronck*, Tammo Delhaas, M. Butlin, Koen Reesink, A.P. Aviolo

*Corresponding author for this work

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

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Pulse wave velocity (PWV), a marker of arterial stiffness, is known to change instantaneously with changes in blood pressure. In this mini-review, we discuss two main approaches for handling the blood pressure dependence of PWV: (1) converting PWV into a pressure-independent index, and (2) correcting PWV per se for the pressure dependence. Under option 1, we focus on cardio-ankle vascular index (CAVI). CAVI is essentially a form of stiffness index β - CAVI is estimated for a (heart-to-ankle) trajectory, whereas β is estimated for a single artery from pressure and diameter measurements. Stiffness index β, and therefore also CAVI, have been shown to theoretically exhibit a slight residual blood pressure dependence due to the use of diastolic blood pressure instead of a fixed reference blood pressure. Additionally, CAVI exhibits pressure dependence due to the use of an estimated derivative of the pressure-diameter relationship. In this mini-review, we will address CAVI's blood pressure dependence theoretically, but also statistically. Furthermore, we review corrected indices (CAVI0 and β0) that theoretically do not show a residual blood pressure dependence. Under option 2, three ways of correcting PWV are reviewed: (1) using an exponential relationship between pressure and cross-sectional area, (2) by statistical model adjustment, and (3) through reference values or rule of thumb. Method 2 requires a population to be studied to characterise the statistical model, and method 3 requires a representative reference study. Given these limitations, method 1 seems preferable for correcting PWV per se for its blood pressure dependence. In summary, several options are available to handle the blood pressure dependence of PWV. If a blood pressure-independent index is sought, CAVI0 is theoretically preferable over CAVI. If correcting PWV per se is required, using an exponential pressure-area relationship provides the user with a method to correct PWV on an individual basis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-114
Number of pages9
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Blood pressure correction
  • Arterial compliance
  • Hypertension
  • WALL
  • TIME

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