Association between increased arterial stiffness and clinical outcomes in patients with early sepsis: a prospective observational cohort study

Sigita Kazune, Andris Grabovskis, Corrado Cescon, Eva Strīķe, Indulis Vanags

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Conduit arteries, especially the aorta, play a major role in ensuring efficient cardiac function and optimal microvascular flow due to their viscoelastic properties. Studies in animals and on isolated arteries show that acute systemic inflammation can cause aortic stiffening which affects hemodynamic efficiency. Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity, a measure of aortic stiffness, may be useful as a bedside investigational method in patients with early sepsis admitted to intensive care, as circulatory changes can lead to multiple organ failure and increased mortality. This study aims to investigate arterial stiffness in early sepsis and its association with clinical outcomes. Methods: This prospective observational study included adult patients with severe sepsis or septic shock admitted to our intensive care unit (n = 45). Their carotidfemoral pulse wave velocity was measured within 24 h of admission. We assessed the progression of multiple organ as well as cardiovascular failure by sequential SOFA scores. Prediction models for the progression of multiple organ and cardiovascular failure were constructed using multivariate logistic regression with pulse wave velocity and vasopressor use as predictors. A Cox proportional hazards model was used to examine the relationship between pulse wave velocity and survival time. Results: The median pulse wave velocity for the cohort was 14.6 (8.1–24.7) m/s. There was no association between pulse wave velocity and the progression of multiple organ failure, before or after adjustment for vasopressor use. No association was found between pulse wave velocity and subsequent improvement in cardiovascular failure in the subgroup of patients who had cardiovascular instability at baseline. Cox regression and survival analyses with age, APACHE II, and baseline SOFA as confounders showed a shorter hospital survival time for patients with pulse wave velocity > 24.7 m/s (HR = 9.45, 95% CI 1.24–72.2; P = 0.03). Conclusions: Patients with severe sepsis and septic shock admitted to intensive care have higher arterial stiffness than in the general population. No convincing association was found between pulse wave velocity at admission and the progression of multiple organ or cardiovascular failure, although the group with pulse wave velocity > 24.7 m/s had shorter survival time.
Original languageEnglish
Article number26
Number of pages10
JournalIntensive Care Medicine Experimental
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2019


  • Sepsis
  • Hemodynamics
  • Pulse wave velocity
  • Prognostic factor

Field of Science

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database

Cite this