Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is associated with premature atherosclerosis. Increasing arterial stiffness is closely associated with atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases, and pulse wave velocity (PWV) is considered to be an indicator of arterial stiffness. The objective of this study was to identify the relationship between brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) and cardiovascular risk factors in patients with SLE. Age, body mass index (BMI), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), fasting blood glucose (FBS), plasma lipid profile, plasma homocysteine, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), baPWV, ankle-brachial index (ABI), and SLE-related factors were determined in a total of 83 SLE patients (12 males and 71 females). All SLE patients were further classified into two subgroups according to baPWV value (baPWV < 1400 cm/s, n = 37 versus baPWV > 1400 cm/s, n = 46). The mean baPWV value of studied SLE patients was 1520 ± 381 cm/s. Age, BMI, SBP, DBP, FBS, TBARS and homocysteine levels were significantly higher in SLE patients with baPWV value > 1400 cm/s than in SLE patients with baPWV value < 1400 cm/s. In addition, baPWV correlated significantly with age, SBP, DBP, FBS and homocysteine. Moreover, stepwise multiple regression analysis showed that age and SBP were independently associated with baPWV. The results of this study indicate a possible link between vascular stiffness measured by baPWV and cardiovascular risk factors in patients with SLE.
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