Estimation of arterial mechanics in clinical practice and as a research technique

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1. Large conduit artery pathophysiology is associated with considerable morbidity with even normal ageing, irrespective of concurrent influences, associated with impaired arterial function. 2. Recent technical advances have enabled high-resolution non-invasive assessment of pulsatile arterial properties, but this has been largely confined to more muscular superficial arteries. There has been less study of arterial regions prone to disease that would, theoretically at least, benefit from pharmacological or other intervention to improve function. 3. Based on studies in animal models and, in particular, human arterial segments, specific pharmacological agents have been proposed as improving arterial behaviour. If this is to become a therapeutic target, it behoves increased effort to understand and measure meaningful indices of arterial function and to find ways of assessing response and outcome. 4. A number of different approaches to assessment and quantification of arterial mechanics are available in the literature. The present review compares and discusses some of these different techniques and looks at differences between arterial segments and evidence that appropriate intervention may beneficially modify arterial behaviour. 5. For clinical or research usefulness, assessment of arterial mechanics must provide more information than currently derived from simple numerical measurement of brachial blood pressure. This is particularly true because epidemiological risk evidence is based on brachial rather than central blood pressure recordings. There has been an explosion of work in this field in recent years and the present review does not pretend to reference all relevant material; rather, it tries to provide a broad coverage of the topic and hopes to support the need for continued endeavours in the field of arterial mechanics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-294
Number of pages10
JournalClinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Arterial compliance
  • Blood pressure
  • Pulse wave velocity
  • Stiffness

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