Arterial elastic properties change with aging. Measurements of pulse wave velocity and augmentation index are useful for the evaluation of arterial stiffness. However, they likely represent only global characteristics of the arterial tree rather than local vascular alterations. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether local vascular properties assessed by velocity vector imaging differed with aging.Methods
Vascular properties of carotid arteries with ages were assessed in 100 healthy volunteers (52 men) ranging from 20 to 68 years using velocity vector imaging. The peak circumferential strain and strain rate of the six segments in left common carotid arteries were analyzed and the standard deviation of the time to peak circumferential strain and strain rate of the six segments, representing the synchronicity of the arterial expansion, were calculated. Central blood pressure, augmentation index and pulse wave velocity were assessed by commercially available radial artery tonometry, the SphygmoCor system (AtCor Medical, West Ryde, Australia). A validated generalized transfer function was used to acquire the central aortic pressures and pressure waveforms.Results
Pulse wave velocity, augmentation index and velocity vector imaging parameters showed significant changes with age. However, the age-related changes in pulse wave velocity, augmentation index and velocity vector imaging parameters were different. The increase in pulse wave velocity was more prominent in older individuals, whereas the changes in augmentation index and carotid strain and strain rate were evident earlier, at the age of 30 years. Unlike augmentation index, which showed little change in older individuals, the standard deviation of time to peak strain and strain rate showed a steady increase from younger to older individuals.Conclusion
Asynchronous arterial expansion could be a useful discriminative marker of vascular aging independent of individual's age.