What Does a Narrow Pulse Pressure Indicate?

A low or narrow pulse pressure is indicative of a decreased heart function and is usually a predictor of death in patients with mild to advanced heart failure, according to 2010 study published in Texas Heart Institute Journal. Pulse pressure refers to the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings. Since a blood pressure reading of 120/80 is considered to be the normal or healthy blood pressure, the difference of 40 between the readings is also considered to be a healthy pulse pressure.

Both high or wide pulse pressure and low or narrow pulse pressure are believed to be indicators of poor cardiac health. A pulse pressure higher than 40 is abnormal and when it gets as high as 60, the patient is considered to be at risk of developing a cardiovascular disorder.

Apart from those already mentioned, a low or narrow pulse pressure may also be caused by a drop in the volume of the left ventricular stroke. Blood loss through trauma or accidents will also cause the pulse pressure to narrow. Other causes of narrow pulse pressure include shock, congestive heart failure, cardiac tamponade and aortic valve stenosis.

Abnormal pulse pressure readings, however, do not necessarily indicate health problems. For example, an individual’s systolic reading will increase during and immediately after exercise while the diastolic reading will remain the same. People with a a significantly more lean muscle tissue such as bodybuilders also have a high pulse pressure.