A new method has been developed to measure local pressure waveforms in large arteries by using ultrasound. The method is based on a simultaneous estimation of distension waveforms and velocity profiles from a single noninvasive perpendicular ultrasound B-mode measurement. Velocity vectors were measured by applying a cross-correlation based technique to ultrasound radio-frequency (RF) data. From the ratio between changes in flow and changes in cross-sectional area of the vessel, the local pulse wave velocity (PWV) was estimated. This PWV value was used to convert the distension waveforms into pressure waveforms. The method was validated in a phantom set-up. Physiologically relevant pulsating flows were considered, employing a fluid which mimics both the acoustic and rheologic properties of blood. A linear array probe attached to a commercially available ultrasound scanner was positioned parallel to the vessel wall. Since no steering was used, the beam was perpendicular to the flow. The noninvasively estimated pressure waveforms showed a good agreement with the reference pressure waveforms. Pressure values were predicted with a precision of 0.2 kPa (1.5 mm Hg). An accurate beat to beat pressure estimation could be obtained, indicating that a noninvasive pressure assessment in large arteries by means of ultrasound is feasible.
Copyright © 2011 World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.