Purpose Arterial stiffness, assessed by aortic pulse wave velocity (aPWV) and augmentation index (AIx), increases in menopause, yet there are no norms for these indices in younger women. This pilot study estimates ranges of aPWV (m/s) and AIx (%) during regular menstrual cycles (MC, 28 [138} 4 days) or triphasic oral contraceptive use (OC).
Study Design Women 18-45 yrs., BMI = 18.5-26 were studied weekly for 8-16 wk.
Groups MC (n = 16) and OC (n = 7).
Methods Noninvasive applanation tonometry (SphygmoCorTM) supine (position 1) and standing (position 2). Menstrual phase estimated by previous cycle length and first day of menses or 1st day off OC. The distributions of aPWV and AIx in each phase were tested (histogram skewness, kurtosis, Kolmogorov-Smirnoff test)
Results Inter-operator measurements were<1 SD. Both aPWV and AIx were normally distributed and varied cyclically by phase and position over the MC, but not during OC use.
Conclusion Applanation tonometry has excellent inter-observer reproducibility when used by trained observers Reference ranges may be defined for aPWV and AIx in women, during each phase of MC or OC use. Anovulatory cycles may contribute to variability of aPWV and AIx. This pilot study will aid future investigations to detect and monitor cardiovascular disease in women across their reproductive life span. Supported in part by grant M01RR13297 from the National Center for Research Resources, NIH. (Table)
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