Simultaneous assessment of endothelial function and morphology in the brachial artery using a new semiautomatic ultrasound system

Hypertens Res. 2013 Aug;36(8):691-7. doi: 10.1038/hr.2013.35. Epub 2013 Apr 18.


The accuracy of measurements of the intima-media thickness (IMT) and flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery made using a new semiautomated ultrasound system and the relationships among those parameters and the Framingham Risk Score (FRS) as a predictor of coronary heart disease (CHD) are unknown. We enrolled 70 subjects, including 47 patients with cardiovascular risk factors and 23 normal healthy volunteers. IMT and FMD were simultaneously measured using a new semiautomated ultrasound system, and the measurements were compared with those obtained manually as a reference standard (study 1). In addition, we enrolled 200 consecutive patients with risk factors but no CHD to examine the relationships among IMT, FMD and the FRS. The optimal cutoff values of FMD and IMT were determined in 200 patients without CHD, and the subjects were classified into four groups. The 10-year Framingham risks for each group were compared (study 2). FMD and IMT measurements made using the new semiautomated ultrasound system showed a good correlation with the measurements determined manually (study 1). Furthermore, FMD and IMT showed a significant correlation with the FRS. The 10-year Framingham risk was markedly higher in group D (FMD <5.5% and IMT >0.3 mm; 19.0±11.3%; study 2). In conclusion, the measurements made using a new semiautomated ultrasound system provided reliable and simultaneous evaluations of IMT and FMD. The combination of IMT and FMD measurements of the brachial artery may be beneficial for risk stratification of patients with cardiovascular risk factors but no CHD.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology*
  • Brachial Artery / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brachial Artery / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Coronary Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Disease / physiopathology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / diagnostic imaging*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Tunica Intima / diagnostic imaging
  • Tunica Intima / physiopathology
  • Tunica Media / diagnostic imaging
  • Tunica Media / physiopathology
  • Ultrasonography