Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the main cause of mortality and it represents a significant percentage of hospitalizations. In the scenario of minimization of costs of the health system, methods that identify subclinical CVD would be important. Some guidelines include the measures of aortic stiffness and intima-media thickness of the carotid artery as methods to identify subclinical CVD in hypertensive patients. The pulse wave velocity (PWV) is the gold standard for the evaluation of arterial stiffness. In this review, we report the pathophysiology, the determinants of arterial stiffness, and justify its inclusion in the assessment of hypertensive patient due its direct association with cardiovascular risk, as show in the I Diretriz Brasileira de Prevenção Cardiovascular. In addition, we raised the main genetic studies of this phenotype, due to its complexity, can be modulated by dozens of genes. However, a better understanding of the relationship genetic-arterial stiffness and, even an intervention based on genotypes, should be achieved in future studies.
Vascular stiffness; polymorphism; heritability; pathophysiology.