Arterial Stiffness and Cerebral Small Vessel Disease The Rotterdam Scan Study August 9, 2012.

Aging and vascular risk factors contribute to arterial stiffening. Increased arterial stiffness exposes the small vessels in the brain to abnormal flow pulsations and, as such, may contribute to the pathogenesis of cerebral small vessel disease. In a population-based study, we investigated the association between arterial stiffness, as measured by aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV), and small vessel disease.

Methods—Overall, 1460 participants (mean age, 58.2 years) underwent aPWV measurement and brain MRI scanning. We calculated aPWV by measuring time differences and distances between pulse waves in the carotid and femoral arteries. Using automated MRI analysis, we obtained white matter lesion volumes. Infarcts and microbleeds were rated visually. We used linear and logistic regression models to associate aPWV with small vessel disease, adjusting for age, sex, mean arterial pressure, and heart rate and additionally for cardiovascular risk factors. Subsequently, we explored associations in strata of hypertension. Read More