Postgrad Med J 82:357-362 doi:10.1136/pgmj.2005.036053
  • Ageing series

Ageing and vascular ageing

  1. B Jani1,
  2. C Rajkumar2
  1. 1Section of Care of the Elderly, Imperial College, London, UK
  2. 2Faculty of Medicine, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Brighton, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr B Jani
 Section of Care of the Elderly, Imperial College, Hammersmith Hospital, Du Cane Road, London W12 0NN, UK; binitajani{at}
  • Received 13 April 2005
  • Accepted 16 July 2005


There is an age related decline in various physiological processes. Vascular ageing is associated with changes in the mechanical and the structural properties of the vascular wall, which leads to the loss of arterial elasticity and reduced arterial compliance. Arterial compliance can be measured by different parameters like pulse wave velocity, augmentation index, and systemic arterial compliance. There is evidence that arterial compliance is reduced in disease states such as hypertension, diabetes, and end stage renal failure. Changes in arterial compliance can be present before the clinical manifestation of cardiovascular disease. Pharmacological and non-pharmacological measures have been shown to improve arterial compliance. Arterial compliance may constitute an early cardiovascular risk marker and may be useful in assessing the effects of drugs on the cardiovascular system. Pharmacogenetics and genetics of arterial compliance in the future will improve our knowledge and understanding about vascular ageing.


  • Funding: none.

  • Conflicts of interest: none.

  • This article is part of a series on ageing edited by Professor Chris Bulpitt.