The influence of gender on carotid artery compliance and distensibility in children and adults

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Given the role of arterial wall elasticity in the development of cardiovascular disease, carotid artery compliance and distensibility have been used commonly over the last decade as predictors of cardiovascular risk, although their gender differences remain unknown. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the impact of gender on carotid arterial elasticity in a large sample of children and adults.


Carotid artery compliance and distensibility were measured with ultrasonography in 294 children (157 boys, 137 girls; ages 6–18 years) and 604 adults (291 men, 311 women; ages 18–49 years) previously recruited for a study investigating cardiovascular risk factors. An independent sample t test was used to compare demographic and carotid artery elasticity values by age and gender.


No significant gender difference in carotid arterial compliance and distensibility was observed in children. Women had significantly greater cross-sectional compliance than men (0.004 ± 0.000 versus 0.003 ± 0.000 1/mmHg, p = 0.041).


We found significant gender difference in carotid compliance in adults, but not in children, suggesting that gender differences in arterial stiffness are not present early in life but emerge later in adulthood. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Ultrasound41:340–346, 2013

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