Left ventricular ejection time, not heart rate, is an independent correlate of aortic pulse wave velocity

Paolo Salvi, Carlo Palombo, Giovanni Matteo Salvi, Carlos Labat, Gianfranco Parati, Athanase Benetos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several studies showed a positive association between heart rate and pulse wave velocity, a sensitive marker of arterial stiffness. However, no study involving a large population has specifically addressed the dependence of pulse wave velocity on different components of the cardiac cycle. The aim of this study was to explore in subjects of different age the link between pulse wave velocity with heart period (the reciprocal of heart rate) and the temporal components of the cardiac cycle such as left ventricular ejection time and diastolic time. Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity was assessed in 3,020 untreated subjects (1,107 men). Heart period, left ventricular ejection time, diastolic time, and early-systolic dP/dt were determined by carotid pulse wave analysis with high-fidelity applanation tonometry. An inverse association was found between pulse wave velocity and left ventricular ejection time at all ages (2 = 0.043; 25-44 years, r2 = 0.103; 45-64 years, r2 = 0.079; 65-84 years, r2 = 0.044; ≥85 years, r2 = 0.022; P = 0.0001 for all). A significant (P = 0.0001) negative but always weaker correlation between pulse wave velocity and heart period was also found, with the exception of the youngest subjects (P=0.20). A significant positive correlation was also found between pulse wave velocity and dP/dt (P = 0.0001). With multiple stepwise regression analysis, left ventricular ejection time and dP/dt remained the only determinant of pulse wave velocity at all ages, whereas the contribution of heart period no longer became significant. Our data demonstrate that pulse wave velocity is more closely related to left ventricular systolic function than to heart period. This may have methodological and pathophysiological implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1610-1617
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2013


  • Arterial stiffness
  • Heart rate
  • Left ventricular ejection time
  • Left ventricular function
  • Pulse wave velocity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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