Guidelines for the ultrasound assessment of endothelial-dependent flow-mediated vasodilation of the brachial artery: a report of the International Brachial Artery Reactivity Task Force

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2002 Jan 16;39(2):257-65. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(01)01746-6.


Endothelial function is thought to be an important factor in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, hypertension and heart failure. In the 1990s, high-frequency ultrasonographic imaging of the brachial artery to assess endothelium-dependent flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) was developed. The technique provokes the release of nitric oxide, resulting in vasodilation that can be quantitated as an index of vasomotor function. The noninvasive nature of the technique allows repeated measurements over time to study the effectiveness of various interventions that may affect vascular health. However, despite its widespread use, there are technical and interpretive limitations of this technique. State-of-the-art information is presented and insights are provided into the strengths and limitations of high-resolution ultrasonography of the brachial artery to evaluate vasomotor function, with guidelines for its research application in the study of endothelial physiology.

Publication types

  • Guideline
  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brachial Artery / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brachial Artery / physiology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology
  • Ultrasonography
  • Vasodilation*


  • Nitric Oxide