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Radial Pulse Wave Analysis in Young Male Elite Athletes



Indicators obtained from the analysis of the radial pulse wave allow an indirect evaluation of the interaction between cardiac ejection and arterial walls.


To analyze the characteristics of the arterial pulse in young elite athletes through a cross-sectional observational study.


We evaluated the radial pulse wave in 35 high performance young male athletes, who practice various sports, comparing them with 36 healthy men of similar ages, using the applanation tonometry technique. We computed conventional indicators of central increase in central pressure and aortic propagation velocity, and added two new indicators: the slope of the increase in radial pressure and the amplitude of the oscillatory component during diastole.


In relation to controls, athletes exhibited lower heart rate (61.6 ± 9.1 vs. 71.4 ± 10.6 bpm, p < 0.001), lower pulse wave velocity (7.0 ± 1.0 vs. 7.5 ± 0.8 m/s, p < 0.001), lower diastolic blood pressure (67.6 ± 8.2 vs. 78.5 ± 7.3 mmHg, p < 0.001) and higher brachial pulse pressure (53.6 ± 8.3 vs. 46.7 ± 7.1 mmHg, p < 0.001). The systolic slope (0.70 ± 0.15 vs. 0.59 ± 0.13 mmHg/ms, p < 0.001) and the amplitude of diastolic oscillation (25.7 ± 6.4 vs. 18.4 ± 4.7%, p < 0.001) were significantly higher in athletes than in controls.


Young athlete presented low aortic velocity, but significantly higher systolic slope and diastolic oscillation amplitude than controls. The steeper systolic slope and the lower diastolic blood pressure could underlie a higher stroke volume and a lower peripheral resistance respectively. The greater diastolic oscillation could be the consequence of the eccentric remodeling and increased compliance of the distal arteries, in response to intense training. We propose new pulse wave parameters obtained from the analysis of the radial waveform for the assessment of the cardiovascular adaptation to intense training.


  • Pulse wave contour of athletes is characterized by a steeper pressure slope and greater diastolic oscillation.

  • In contrast, traditional tonometric indicators did not differ significantly between athletes and controls.

  • The cardiovascular adaptation to high performance training could be evaluated by pulse wave analysis.


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Correspondence to Fernando Clara.

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Peer review under responsibility of the Association for Research into Arterial Structure and Physiology

Data availability statement: The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author [FC], upon reasonable request.

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Clara, F., Alfie, J., Blanco, G. et al. Radial Pulse Wave Analysis in Young Male Elite Athletes. Artery Res 27, 69–74 (2021).

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