Utility of arterial stiffness assessment in children.

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DOI: 10.1017/S1047951117002402


Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide, and the atherosclerotic process begins in childhood. Prevention or containment of risk factors that accelerate atherosclerosis can delay the development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Although current recommendations are to periodically screen for commonly prevailing risk factors for atherosclerosis in children, a single test that could quantify the cumulative effect of all risk factors on the vasculature, thus assessing arterial health, would be helpful in further stratifying risk. Measurement of pulse wave velocity and assessment of augmentation index - measures of arterial stiffness - are easy-to-use, non-invasive methods of examining arterial health. Various studies have assessed pulse wave velocity and augmentation index in children with commonly occurring conditions including obesity, hypertension, insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidaemia, physical inactivity, chronic kidney disease, CHD and acquired heart diseases, and in children who were born premature or small for gestational age. This article summarises pulse wave velocity and augmentation index assessments and the effects of commonly prevailing chronic conditions on arterial health in children. In addition, currently available reference values for pulse wave velocity and augmentation index in healthy children are included. Further research to establish widely applicable normative values and the effect of lifestyle and pharmacological interventions on arterial health in children is needed.

Journal Title

Cardiology in the young





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MeSH Keywords

Arteries; Atherosclerosis; Child; Early Diagnosis; Hemodynamics; Humans; Predictive Value of Tests; Pulse Wave Analysis; Risk Factors; Vascular Stiffness


Pulse wave velocity; atherosclerosis; augmentation index; children

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