Determinants of vascular age: An epidemiological perspective

Anna M. Kucharska-Newton, Lee Stoner, Michelle L. Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Vascular age is an emerging health indicator and predictor of end-organ damage to the heart, brain, and kidney. Although there have been many review publications concerning risk factors for vascular aging, most include cross-sectional epidemiological studies, limiting inferences about temporality. There is a need for a review of longitudinal epidemiological studies with repeated measures of vascular structure and function to allow for a systematic examination of determinants of vascular age and the association of vascular aging with outcomes. CONTENT: Arterial stiffness is the most frequently used measure of vascular aging. We report here results of an extensive literature review of longitudinal cohort studies with repeated measures of arterial stiffness to characterize determinants of vascular age. Additionally, we summarize population-based studies that have focused on the association of arterial stiffness with end-organ damage and adverse cardiovascular outcomes. SUMMARY: Changes in arterial stiffness are evident in early childhood. In adults, arterial stiffness has been observed to progress at the average rate of 0.2 to 0.7 m/s for every 5 years of life. The state of the science is limited by the small number of studies with repeated measures of arterial stiffness and determinants of arterial stiffness progression, as well as limited studies in children and diverse race/ethnic groups. Several extant studies suggest that beyond age, cardiometabolic risk factors and adverse lifestyle behaviors contribute to arterial stiffening. Therefore, arterial stiffness is important in the assessment of healthy vascular aging and a possible target for the prevention of subclinical and clinical disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-118
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Association for Clinical Chemistry.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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