Arteriosclerosis is a major contributor to cardiovascular diseases. One of the difficulties in controlling those diseases is the lack of a suitable indicator of arteriosclerosis or arterial injury in routine clinical practice. Arterial stiffness was supposed to be one of the monitoring indexes of arteriosclerosis. Cardio-ankle vascular index (CAVI) is reflecting the stiffness of the arterial tree from the origin of the aorta to the ankle, and one of the features of CAVI is independency from blood pressure at a measuring time. When doxazosin, an α1-adrenergic blocker, was administered, CAVI decreased, indicating that arterial stiffness is composed of both organic stiffness and functional stiffness, which reflects the contraction of arterial smooth muscle. CAVI shows a high value with aging and in many arteriosclerotic diseases, and is also high in persons possessing main coronary risk factors such as diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, hypertension and smoking. Furthermore, when the most of those risk factors were controlled by proper methods, CAVI improved. Furthermore, the co-relationship between CAVI and heart function was demonstrated during treatment of heart failure. This paper reviews the principle and rationale of CAVI, and discusses the meaning of monitoring CAVI in following up so-called lifestyle-related diseases and cardiac dysfunction in routine clinical practice.
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