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Prevalence of arterial stiffness in North China, and associations with risk factors of cardiovascular disease: a community-based study

Jin-Wen Wang1*, Zi-Qiang Zhou2 and Da-Yi Hu3

Author Affiliations

1 Beijing Anzhen Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing Institute of Heart Lung and Blood Vessel Disease, Beijing, 100029, People’s Republic of China

2 Cardiovascular Center, Beijing Tongren Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, 100730, People’s Republic of China

3 Heart Center, People’s Hospital of Peking University, Beijing, 100035, People’s Republic of China

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BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2012, 12:119  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-119

Published: 7 December 2012



Brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV), which reflects the stiffness of both central and peripheral muscular arteries, has been frequently used as a simple index for assessing arterial stiffness. The aim of the present study was to investigate the prevalence of arterial stiffness in North China based on baPWV measurements, and explore the associations between increased arterial stiffness and risk factors of cardiovascular diseases (CVD).


Twenty-three community populations were established in North China. For each participant, parameters for calculating baPWV, including blood pressures and pressure waveforms, were measured using a non-invasive automatic device. All participants were required to respond to an interviewer-led questionnaire including medical histories and demographic data, and to receive blood tests on biochemical indictors.


A total of 2,852 participants were finally investigated. Among them, 1,201 people with low burden of CVD risk factors were chosen to be the healthy reference sample. The cut-off point of high baPWV was defined as age-specific 90th percentile of the reference sample. Thus, the prevalence of high baPWV was found to be 22.3% and 26.4% in men and women respectively. After adjusted for age, heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), fasting glucose level, and smoking were significantly associated with high baPWV in men; while level of serum total cholesterol (TC), HR, SBP, and diabetes were significantly associated with high baPWV in women.


Based on the age-specific cut-off points, the middle-aged population has a higher prevalence of high baPWV in North China. There exists a difference between men and women in terms of the potential risk factors associated with arterial stiffness.

Brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity; Arterial stiffness; Risk factor; Cardiovascular disease