Age-Dependent Decline in Common Femoral Artery Flow-Mediated Dilation and Wall Shear Stress in Healthy Subjects

Mariam Bapir, Gavrielle R. Untracht, Julie E.A. Hunt, John H. McVey, Jenny Harris, Simon S. Skene, Paola Campagnolo, Nikolaos Dikaios, Ana Rodriguez-Mateos, David D. Sampson, Danuta M. Sampson, Christian Heiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Femoral artery (FA) endothelial function is a promising biomarker of lower extremity vascular health for peripheral artery disease (PAD) prevention and treatment; however, the impact of age on FA endothelial function has not been reported in healthy adults. Therefore, we evaluated the reproducibility and acceptability of flow-mediated dilation (FMD) in the FA and brachial artery (BA) (n = 20) and performed cross-sectional FA- and BA-FMD measurements in healthy non-smokers aged 22–76 years (n = 50). FMD protocols demonstrated similar good reproducibility. Leg occlusion was deemed more uncomfortable than arm occlusion; thigh occlusion was less tolerated than forearm and calf occlusion. FA-FMD with calf occlusion was lower than BA-FMD (6.0 ± 1.1% vs 6.4 ± 1.3%, p = 0.030). Multivariate linear regression analysis indicated that age (−0.4%/decade) was a significant independent predictor of FA-FMD (R2 = 0.35, p = 0.002). The age-dependent decline in FMD did not significantly differ between FA and BA (pinteraction agexlocation = 0.388). In older participants, 40% of baseline FA wall shear stress (WSS) values were <5 dyne/cm2, which is regarded as pro-atherogenic. In conclusion, endothelial function declines similarly with age in the FA and the BA in healthy adults. The age-dependent FA enlargement results in a critical decrease in WSS that may explain part of the age-dependent predisposition for PAD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2023
Number of pages12
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2022


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