High pressure of the blood in artery is a common condition and it is closely related to cardiovascular (CV) diseases in future. Blood pressure itself is the most important criteria for hypertension prognosis but attempts are being made to detect hypertensive vascular changes early. Healthy arteries are flexible, strong and elastic but if the condition of high blood pressure persists, arteries turn narrow, thick and stiff, become a condition of arteriosclerosis. And so now, pulse wave velocity (PWV) which measures arteriosclerosis became one of the clinically significant method that evaluates CV risks among patients in hypertension (yes, it is also very important for general population), detects biological changes in blood vessels caused by hypertension, and it is known as a guide for hypertension management.
Other than hypertension, the importance of PWV on various pathological status such as diabetes and renal diseases has been known and it is widely used in clinical settings. There is a method which measures PWV between two blood vessels, regional PWV and arterial structure in one particular blood vessel site, local PWV. Controversies still exist over its accuracy but most of them were resolved and so now, it was introduced as a standard technique by American Heart Association (AHA), European Society of Hypertension and others. Once the problem of pricing is resolved, it can be broadly used as inexpensive technique in clinical settings. I will further discuss which PWV techniques to use and how to interpret aortic PWV data in CV risk stratification of hypertension in clinical settings.