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Pulse wave velocity and short-term outcome in patients requiring intravascular volume expansion: a pilot study
  1. Alberto Milan1,
  2. Pietrantonio Maldari2,
  3. Andrea Iannaccone1,
  4. Dario Leone1,
  5. Eleonora Avenatti1,
  6. Paola Molino2,
  7. Sergio Livigni3,
  8. Franco Veglio1,
  9. Franco Aprà2
  1. 1 Department of Medical Sciences, AOU CIttà della Salute e della Scienza di Torino, University of Torino, Torino, Italy
  2. 2 High Dependency Unit, San Giovanni Bosco Hospital, Torino, Italy
  3. 3 S.C. Anestesia e Rianimazione 2, San Giovanni Bosco Hospital, Torino, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alberto Milan, Department of Medical Sciences, AOU CIttà della Salute e della Scienza di Torino, University of Torino, Torino, Italy; alberto.milan{at}


Background Fluid therapy has a pivotal role in the management of acutely ill patients. However, whether or not a patient can tolerate additional intravascular volume is controversial and optimal strategy is unknown. Carotid femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV) evaluates arterial stiffness.

Objective To determine whether cfPWV can predict the ability of patients to tolerate clinically indicated acute fluid expansion.

Methods 50 consecutive patients requiring intravascular volume expansion were prospectively recruited in intensive care units. All subjects underwent transthoracic echocardiography, pulmonary ultrasound assessment, and a cfPWV study (S. Giovanni Bosco Hospital in Turin, Italy, between 2015 and 2016) at baseline and after 24 hours. Acute outcomes were registered at 24 hours (“soft” end points) and 30 days ('hard' end points: death, acute myocardial infarction, stroke, occurrence of atrial fibrillation, need for dialysis) after initial fluid therapy. Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess association of the initial cfPWV with outcomes.

Results cfPWV was significantly higher (10.6±3.6 vs 7.4±2.2 m/s, P<0.0001) in subjects who met the prespecified combined endpoints (hard or soft) than in those who did not. After adjustment for confounding factors, initial cfPWV was significantly and independently associated with the occurrence of hard events (OR=2.8 (95% CI 1.36 to 5.97), P=0.005; area under the receiver operating characteristic curve 84%). cfPWV of <9 m/s had a negative predictive value of 93%, excluding hard events associated with fluid expansion.

Conclusion cfPWV appears to reflect the ability of the patient to tolerate an intravascular fluid expansion when clinically indicated. Increased cfPWV could help to identify subjects at greater risk of developing signs and symptoms of fluid overload.

  • arterial stiffness
  • intravascular fluid expansion
  • pulse wave velocity
  • volume overload

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  • Contributors AM, FV, and FA: design and review of the work, final approval; PMa, AI, DL: acquisition, analysis and interpretation of the data; EA: statistical analysis, review of the work; PMo, SL: design and review of the work. FV, FA: joint last authors.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval All authors state that any necessary ethics committee approval was secured for the study reported. This study was approved by ‘Comitato etico interaziendale AOU San Luigi Gonzaga di Orbassano’ No 29/2015.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request.