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J Biomed Eng. 1993 May;15(3):221-8.

Validation and reproducibility of pressure-corrected aortic distensibility measurements using pulse-wave-velocity Doppler ultrasound.

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Division of Radiological Sciences, UMDS, St Thomas's Hospital, London, England.


A non-invasive Doppler ultrasound technique is described for the assessment of aortic compliance based on the in vivo measurement of pulse wave velocity along the thoraco-abdominal aortic pathway. A structured protocol, which has been developed to improve the reproducibility of the technique, is validated. A method of correcting for the effect of non-chronic changes in blood pressure on arterial elasticity is considered and applied to compliance measurements performed on 66 normal, healthy volunteers. The results of a study to ascertain the overall reproducibility of the method are provided and problems associated with the technique are discussed. Medical disorders such as atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, familial hypercholesterolaemia and growth hormone deficiency have all been shown to affect arterial wall compliance. It is suggested that the in vivo measurement of pressure-corrected aortic distensibility may be a useful, non-invasive tool for assessing such patients' susceptibility to atheromatous arterial disease and for monitoring their response to therapy. Measurements in the aorta may be especially pertinent since the natural history of fatty streaks there tends to parallel that in coronary arteries thereby potentially affording a convenient surrogate estimate of coronary heart disease.

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