Effects of inaccuracies in arterial path length measurement on differences in MRI and tonometry measured pulse wave velocity

Jonathan R Weir-McCall, Faisel Khan, Deirdre B Cassidy, Arsh Thakur, Jennifer Summersgill, Shona Z Matthew, Fiona Adams, Fiona Dove, Stephen J Gandy, Helen M Colhoun, Jill Jf Belch, J Graeme Houston

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BACKGROUND: Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cf-PWV) and aortic PWV measured using MRI (MRI-PWV) show good correlation, but with a significant and consistent bias across studies. The aim of the current study was to evaluate whether the differences between cf.-PWV and MRI-PWV can be accounted for by inaccuracies of currently used distance measurements.

METHODS: One hundred fourteen study participants were recruited into one of 4 groups: Type 2 diabetes melltus (T2DM) with cardiovascular disease (CVD) (n = 23), T2DM without CVD (n = 41), CVD without T2DM (n = 25) and a control group (n = 25). All participants underwent cf.-PWV, cardiac MRI and whole body MR angiography(WB-MRA). 90 study participants also underwent aortic PWV using MRI. cf.-PWVEXT was performed using a SphygmoCor device (Atcor Medical, West Ryde, Australia). The true intra-arterial pathlength was measured using the WB-MRA and then used to recalculate the cf.-PWVEXT to give a cf.-PWVMRA.

RESULTS: Distance measurements were significantly lower on WB-MRA than on external tape measure (mean diff = -85.4 ± 54.0 mm,p < 0.001). MRI-PWV was significantly lower than cf.-PWVEXT (MRI-PWV = 8.1 ± 2.9 vs. cf.-PWVEXT = 10.9 ± 2.7 ms(-1),p < 0.001). When cf.-PWV was recalculated using the inter-arterial distance from WB-MRA, this difference was significantly reduced but not lost (MRI-PWV = 8.1 ± 2.9 ms(-1) vs. cf.-PWVMRA 9.1 ± 2.1 ms(-1), mean diff = -0.96 ± 2.52 ms(-1),p = 0.001). Recalculation of the PWV increased correlation with age and pulse pressure.

CONCLUSION: Differences in cf.-PWV and MRI PWV can be predominantly but not entirely explained by inaccuracies introduced by the use of simple surface measurements to represent the convoluted arterial path between the carotid and femoral arteries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118
JournalBmc cardiovascular disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2017


  • Journal Article


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