Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The relationship between various measures of obesity and arterial stiffness in morbidly obese patients

N Nordstrand1*, E Gjevestad12, KN Dinh1, D Hofsø1, J Røislien13, E Saltvedt1, I Os4 and J Hjelmesæth1

Author Affiliations

1 Morbid Obesity Centre, Vestfold Hospital Trust, Tønsberg, Norway

2 Hospital for Rehabilitation, Department of Physical Medicine, Stavern, Norway

3 Oslo University Hospital, Department of Biostatistics, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Rikshospitalet, Norway

4 Oslo University Hospital, Department of Nephrology and Hypertension, Ullevål, Norway

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BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2011, 11:7  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-11-7

Published: 1 February 2011



Obesity is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Arterial stiffness assessed by carotid femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) is an independent predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. We aimed to investigate how various measures of body composition affect arterial stiffness.


This is an analysis of cross-sectional baseline data from a controlled clinical trial addressing changes in arterial stiffness after either surgery or lifestyle intervention in a population of morbidly obese patients. High-fidelity applanation tonometry (Millar®, Sphygmocor®) was used to measure pulse wave velocity (PWV). Carotid femoral PWV is a direct measure of arterial stiffness and is considered to be the gold standard method. The Inbody 720 Body Composition Analyzer was used for bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). Spearman's correlation, independent samples t-test, chi-square tests, Fisher's exact test and multiple linear regression analyses were used as statistical methods.


A total of 133 patients (79 women), with a mean (SD) age of 43 (11) years were included in the study. Men had a significantly higher prevalence of obesity related comorbidities and significantly higher PWV, 9.1 (2.0) m/s vs. 8.1 (1.8) m/s, p = 0.003, than women. In the female group, PWV was positively correlated with WC, WHtR, BMI and visceral fat area. In the male group, PWV was negatively correlated with BMI. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that increasing BMI, WC, WHtR, visceral fat area and fat mass were independently associated with higher PWV in women, but not in men, after adjustment for age, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.


Most measures of general and abdominal obesity were predictors of arterial stiffness in female morbidly obese patients.

Trial registration Identifier NCT00626964