Author(s): Kazuhiko Kotani, Michiaki Miyamoto, Nobuyuki Taniguchi
Increased blood pressure and hypertension are a major atherosclerotic risk factor. Arterial stiffness is recognized to be reflective to the atherosclerotic states. The pulse wave velocity (PWV) is a noninvasive, simple, easy and reproducible index that can be used to assess arterial stiffness in association with blood pressure. The cardio-ankle vascular index (CAVI) has recently been developed to evaluate arterial stiffness similarly to PWV, but theoretically, this index is less influenced by blood pressure. There have been several clinical reports on the use of the CAVI in patients with hypertension. The CAVI levels are reported to be significantly and positively correlated with the ultrasonographical atherosclerotic parameters of carotid arteries, as a surrogate marker of atherosclerotic events, in hypertensive patients. Intervention studies of anti-hypertensive therapy using CAVI have shown that candesartan, olmesartan and efonidipine can improve the CAVI levels. These results suggest that the CAVI is clinically helpful for the assessment of atherosclerotic risk and the management with drug treatment in patients with hypertension. However, compared with PWV, there is not much evidence of using CAVI in a clinical setting; future research is therefore necessary.