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To evaluate whether the pulsatile component of blood pressure can be a risk factor independent of the steady component in elderly females.Fifty-two elderly hypertensive female patients were compared with 32 normotensive control subjects of the same age. According to the results of that first study, a cohort of 126 elderly females was studied over a 3-year period to evaluate whether the pulsatile and steady-state components of blood pressure correlated with the same parameters and could predict the occurrence of cardiovascular events.In the first study the hypertensive patients with elevated pulse pressure had significantly higher triglycerides level and lower urinary sodium excretion than the hypertensive patients with lower pulse pressure and than the control subjects of the same age. The incidence of cardiovascular events over a 3-year period was significantly higher in the elderly hypertensive females with increased pulse pressure. In the cohort of 126 females mean arterial pressure (MAP) and pulse pressure did not show the same degree of correlation with the biological parameters tested (plasma triglycerides: MAP r = 0.162, P<0.05; pulse pressure r = 0.314, P<0.0005; urinary sodium excretion: MAP r =-0.365, P<0.0001; pulse pressure r =-0.257, P<0.002). Furthermore, for the same MAP level, patients with cardiovascular accidents in a 3-year period had significantly higher pulse pressure values. Pulse pressure (and not MAP) was a strong predictor of cardiovascular accidents.In elderly hypertensive females the pulsatile and the steady-state components of blood pressure did not correlate with the same biological parameters. Furthermore, the pulsatile component, when explored by pulse pressure, seemed to be a strong independent cardiovascular risk factor.