Determinants of Arterial Stiffness and Vascular Aging in the Older Adult
Abstract Background: Arterial stiffness (AS) is recognized as an important and independent risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Objective: This study was aimed at identifying the main determinants of AS in the elderly. Design and Methods: This was an observational, cross-sectional study of elderly participants. Blood pressure (BP) and parameters of arterial function were measured using a validated device. Clinical and demographic data, global cardiovascular risk, health-related quality of life, dietary profile and cognition data were evaluated. Blood samples were collected for biochemical profiling of the participants. Handgrip strength test was performed. Student's t-test and the χ2 or Fisher exact tests were used for between-group comparisons as adequate. Correlational analysis was performed with the Pearson correlation coefficients and linear regression analysis. A two-tailed p < 0.05 was considered significant. Results: Fifty-four participants (81.8 ± 8.8 years; 65-94 years) were included in the study. Central BP was 132.7 ± 23.7 mmHg and 51.5 ± 15.7 mmHg, respectively, for aortic systolic and pulse pressures. Mean pulse wave velocity (PWV) was 12.9 ± 2.1 m/s and augmentation index 30.1 ± 12.9%. The proportion of participants with abnormal AS (increased PWV) was 27.8%. Participants with abnormal AS had higher brachial and central BP, higher BMI and higher abdominal fat. Functionality and nutritional status were worse in participants with abnormal AS. Regression analysis indicated age, brachial and central BP and vascular resistance as main determinants of AS. Conclusions: Abnormal AS is a common finding in the elderly and is highly associated with hypertension, functional decline and impairment of kidney function.