Purpose of Review
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of mortality globally. Identifying patients at risk is important to initiate preventive strategies. Over the last few decades, the role of the endothelium and its impact on arterial stiffness have been recognised as playing a pivotal role in cardiovascular disease. This review will focus on the effect of arterial stiffness in different patient cohorts with regard to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, as well as its use in clinical practice.
Arterial stiffness is associated with a range of cardiovascular risk factors and is an independent predictor of cardiovascular mortality. The gold standard for evaluating arterial stiffness is pulse wave velocity. Recently, cardio-ankle vascular index has been implemented as an easy and highly reproducible measure of arterial stiffness. Moreover, certain pharmacologic agents may modify arterial stiffness and alter progression of cardiovascular disease.
The endothelium plays an important role in cardiovascular disease. Implementing assessment of arterial stiffness in clinical practice will improve stratification of patients at risk of cardiovascular disease and help modify disease progression.