Pulse pressure (PP) is simply the difference between the systolic and diastolic pressure of a blood pressure reading. For example, a blood pressure of 120 over 80 yields one of 40 mmHg (120 minus 80 = 40). Increased pulse pressure could be a strong predictor of heart problems. Any pulse pressure above 40 mmHg is abnormal, above 60 mmHg is to high. However, a low (PP) could indicate poor heart function. The most important cause of elevated pulse pressure is stiffness of the aorta, the largest artery in the body. The stiffness may be due to high blood pressure or fatty deposits on the walls of the arteries (atherosclerosis). It is thought that the higher the (PP) the stiffer and more damaged the vessels are thought to be.
Other causes of widened pulse pressure are:.
- Chronic Aortic Regurgitation
- Aortic Dissection