Chronological age is a well-established risk factor for the development of cardiovascular diseases. The changes that accumulate in the vasculature with age, however, are highly variable. It is now increasingly recognized that indices of vascular health are more reliable than age per se in predicting adverse cardiovascular outcomes. The variation in the accrual of these age-related vascular changes is a function of multiple genetic and environmental factors. In this review, we highlight some of the pathophysiological mechanisms that characterize the vascular aging phenotype. Furthermore, we provide an overview of the key outcome studies that address the value of these vascular health indices in general and discuss potential effects on perioperative cardiovascular outcomes. Copyright © 2011 International Anesthesia Research Society.