Doppler ultrasound was used to measure pulse wave velocity down the aorta and iliac arteries. Arterial wall compliance was calculated from pulse wave velocity in 45 apparently healthy men. Their arterial compliance fell significantly with advancing age, raised blood pressure, increased serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and reduced serum high density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. The correlation between compliance and age was independent of the other risk factors, and the correlation between compliance and lipid status was independent of age and blood pressure. There was no significant correlation between compliance and area under the glucose tolerance curve.