Rising arterial stiffness with accumulating comorbidities associates with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction

Danish Ali, Patrick Tran, Stuart Ennis, Richard Powell, Scott McGuire, Gordon McGregor, Peter K Kimani, Martin O Weickert, Michelle A Miller, Francesco P Cappuccio, Prithwish Banerjee

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)
    34 Downloads (Pure)


    AIMS: Comorbidities play a significant role towards the pathophysiology of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), characterized by abnormal macrovascular function and altered ventricular-vascular coupling. However, our understanding of the role of comorbidities and arterial stiffness in HFpEF remains incomplete. We hypothesized that HFpEF is preceded by a cumulative rise in arterial stiffness as cardiovascular comorbidities accumulate, beyond that associated with ageing.

    METHODS AND RESULTS: Arterial stiffness was assessed using pulse wave velocity (PWV) in five groups: Group A, healthy volunteers (n = 21); Group B, patients with hypertension (n = 21); Group C, hypertension and diabetes mellitus (n = 20); Group D, HFpEF (n = 21); and Group E, HF with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) (n = 11). All patients were aged 70 and above. Mean PWV increased from Groups A to D (PWV 10.2, 12.2, 13.0, and 13.7 m/s, respectively) as vascular comorbidities accumulated independent of age, renal function, haemoglobin, obesity (body mass index), smoking status, and hypercholesterolaemia. HFpEF exhibited the highest PWV and HFrEF displayed near-normal levels (13.7 vs. 10 m/s, P = 0.003). PWV was inversely related to peak oxygen consumption (r = -0.304, P = 0.03) and positively correlated with left ventricular filling pressures (E/e') on echocardiography (r = -0.307, P = 0.014).

    CONCLUSIONS: This study adds further support to the concept of HFpEF as a disease of the vasculature, underlined by an increasing arterial stiffness that is driven by vascular ageing and accumulating vascular comorbidities, for example, hypertension and diabetes. Reflecting a pulsatile arterial afterload associated with diastolic dysfunction and exercise capacity, PWV may provide a clinically relevant tool to identify at-risk intermediate phenotypes (e.g. pre-HFpEF) before overt HFpEF occurs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2487-2498
    Number of pages12
    JournalESC Heart Failure
    Issue number4
    Early online date6 Jun 2023
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

    Bibliographical note

    This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.


    This study was funded by a research grant from the West Midlands Clinical Research Network, National Institute of Health Research, UK and sponsored by the Research, Development & Innovation department of the University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust (RDI, UHCW), UK.


    • Arterial stiffness
    • Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction
    • Pulse wave velocity
    • Ventricular–arterial coupling


    Dive into the research topics of 'Rising arterial stiffness with accumulating comorbidities associates with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this