Age-Related Arterial Changes in Horses

This study suggests that arterial stiffness and wall thickness increase with age in horses.

All systolic and diastolic arterial diameters and the thickness of the common carotid artery were significantly greater in the old horses in this study. iStock/Irina Shpiller

This study investigated whether arterial wall stiffness increases with age in horses, as it does with humans.

Age‐related differences in blood pressure, ultrasound‐derived arterial diameters and arterial wall stiffness parameters in horses” was authored by L. Vera; G. Van Steenkiste; A. Decloedt; K. Chiers; and G. van Loon.

A total of 50 young (3–7 year-olds) and 50 old (>18 years old) healthy Warmblood horses underwent cardiovascular ultrasound and non‐invasive blood pressure measurement simultaneously.

Arterial diameters, cross‐sectional areas, and arterial wall thickness were measured. Arterial wall stiffness of the aorta and common carotid artery were assessed using pulse wave velocity. Lumen area/diameter change, strain, compliance and distensibility were also calculated to assess local arterial wall stiffness.

No difference in blood pressure was found between age groups.

All systolic and diastolic arterial diameters and the thickness of the common carotid artery were significantly greater in the old horses.

The aorta and caudal common carotid artery local arterial wall stiffness and pulse wave velocities were significantly higher in the old horses compared with the young horses.

Bottom line: This study suggests that arterial stiffness and wall thickness increase with age in horses.

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