If volume flow was measured at each end of an arterial segment with no branches, any instantaneous differences would indicate that volume was increasing or decreasing transiently within the segment. This concept could provide an alternative method to assess the mechanical properties or distensibility of an artery noninvasively using ultrasound. The goal of this study was to determine the feasibility of using Doppler measurements of pulsatile velocity (opposed to flow) at two sites to estimate the volume pulsations of the intervening arterial segment. To test the concept over a wide range of dimensions, we made simultaneous measurements of velocity in a short 5 mm segment of a mouse common carotid artery and in a longer 20 cm segment of a human brachial-radial artery using a two-channel 20 MHz pulsed Doppler and calculated the waveforms and magnitudes of the volume pulsations during the cardiac cycle. We also estimated pulse wave velocity from the velocity upstroke arrival times and measured artery wall motion using tissue Doppler methods for comparison of magnitudes and waveforms. Volume pulsations estimated from Doppler velocity measurements were 16% for the mouse carotid artery and 4% for the human brachial artery. These values are consistent with the measured pulse wave velocities of 4.2 m/s and 10 m/s, respectively, and with the mouse carotid diameter pulsation. In addition, the segmental volume waveforms resemble diameter and pressure waveforms as expected. We conclude that with proper application and further validation, dual Doppler velocity measurements can be used to estimate the magnitude and waveform of volume pulsations of an arterial segment and to provide an alternative noninvasive index of arterial mechanical properties.
Copyright 2010 World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.