Arterial wave reflection and vascular autonomic modulation in young and older men

Kevin S. Heffernan, Young Jae Sae, Miyoung Lee, Jeffrey A. Woods, Bo Fernhall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background and aims: Arterial stiffening with aging causes early return of reflected arterial pressure waves from peripheral arteries and augmentation of these waves on incident aortic pressure waves. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between pressure wave reflection and augmentation from peripheral arteries and peripheral sympathetic vasomotion in young and older men. Methods: Thirty males (15 young, 15 older) participated in this cross-sectional study. Radial artery applanation tonometry was used to derive aortic pressure wave reflection time (Δt; index of aortic stiffness) and augmentation index (AIx; index of wave reflection intensity). Low frequency (LF) power attained from spectral decomposition of beat-to-beat systolic blood pressure (SBPLF) variability was used as an estimate of sympathetic vasomotor modulation. Results: SBPLF power was higher in older vs younger men (8.0±0.9 vs 4.5±0.5 mmHg2, p<0.05). Older men had higher AIx (24.0±1.8% vs -11.6±2.3%, p<0.05) and lower Δt (138.1±1.9 ms vs 185.8±5.9 ms, p<0.05) compared with younger males. When ANCOVA was performed with SBPLF power as the covariate, the group differences in AIx75 and Δt were preserved. Results from multiple regression revealed that, after entering age into the model, SBPLF power was not a significant correlate of AIx or Δt, accounting for a non-significant 1.2% and 1.1% of the variance, respectively. Conclusions: These findings suggest that increased blood pressure variability with aging is not related to age-associated increases in aortic stiffness or wave reflection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalAging Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Augmentation index
  • Systolic blood pressure variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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