Arterial stiffness and pulse pressure in CKD and ESRD

Kidney International, 04/27/2012

Various non–pharmacological or pharmacological interventions can modestly slow the progression of arterial stiffness, but arterial stiffness is, in part, pressure dependent and treatments able to stop the process mainly include antihypertensive drugs.

  • The authors recognize that increased systolic pressure is the most challenging form of hypertension today and that pulse pressure as an independent cardiovascular risk factor has focused attention on arterial stiffness and wave reflections as the most important factors determining these pressures.
  • In recent years, many studies emphasized the role of arterial rigidity in the development of cardiovascular diseases, and it was shown that stiffening of arteries is associated with increased cardiovascular mortality and morbidity.
  • Arterial stiffening is linked to decreased glomerular filtration rate, and is predictive of kidney disease progression and the patient's cardiovascular outcome.
  • Premature vascular aging and arterial stiffening are observed with progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and in end–stage renal disease (ESRD).
  • This accelerated aging is associated with outward remodeling of large vessels, characterized by increased arterial radius not totally compensated for by artery wall hypertrophy.
  • Arterial stiffening in CKD and ESRD patients is of multifactorial origin with extensive arterial calcifications representing a major covariate.
  • With aging, the rigidity is more pronounced in the aorta than in peripheral conduit arteries, leading to the disappearance or inversion of the arterial stiffness gradient and less protection of the microcirculation from high–pressure transmission.

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