Background: The non-invasive assessment of arterial dysfunction may improve cardiovascular (CV) risk assessment. We studied the relationship of the reflected wave transit time (RWT) and augmentation index (AIX), both derived from pulse wave analysis (PWA), in the presence/absence of coronary artery disease (CAD), and compared PWA with the ankle-brachial index (ABI).Methods: A trained research nurse measured PWA (radial applanation tonometry, SphygmoCor device) and ABI (hand-held Doppler) in a consecutive series of fasted patients resting supine prior to elective coronary angiography. Measurements were undertaken blind to other clinical information. Mean differences in RWT, AIX, and ABI in the presence of CAD were adjusted for age, height, mean BP, fasting cholesterol, ever smoked, and treated hypertension using multiple linear regression.Results: We recruited 125 patients (49 women) with a mean age of 65 years, total cholesterol 4.4 mmol/l, BP 136/78, current smokers 22%, and previous myocardial infraction 30%. A statistically significant interaction between sex and CAD was present for both RWT (p = 0.003) and AIX (p = 0.03). No interaction was demonstrated for ABI (p = 0.21). Mean differences for men and women in the presence/absence of CAD were: RWT -10.1 vs. +5.2 milliseconds; AIX +1.2 vs. -5.4; ABI -0.02 vs. -0.10. Male and female area under receiver operating characteristic curves for CAD detection differed for RWT (0.33 vs. 0.67) and AIX (0.62 vs. 0.36), but were similar for ABI (0.40 vs. 0.34).Conclusion: The timing and extent of arterial wave reflections in the presence of CAD may differ in men and women. © The European Society of Cardiology 2011 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav.