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Arterial stiffness and compliance are major predictors of adverse cardiovascular events and are influenced by female sex hormones, including estrogen and progesterone. The aim of this longitudinal study was to evaluate the effect of the menstrual cycle, normal pregnancy, and preeclampsia on central and systemic arterial stiffness. Ten healthy nulliparous women with regular menses were studied in the early and midfollicular, periovulatory, and luteal phases of a single menstrual cycle. Twenty-two primigravida pregnant women were studied throughout pregnancy at 16, 24, 32, and 37 weeks gestation and at 7 weeks postpartum. Fifteen primigravida women with preeclampsia were studied at diagnosis and 7 weeks postpartum. Augmentation index and carotid-radial and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocities were measured using applanation tonometry. Augmentation index fell during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (luteal phase versus periovulatory phase; P<0.05). In normal pregnancy, pulse wave velocity and augmentation index increased from 24 weeks over the third trimester (P

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





952 - 958


Adult, Analysis of Variance, Aorta, Arteries, Female, Gestational Age, Hemodynamics, Humans, Longitudinal Studies, Menstrual Cycle, Postpartum Period, Pre-Eclampsia, Pregnancy, Probability, Pulsatile Flow, Reference Values, Vascular Resistance