High-frame-rate A-mode ultrasound for calibration-free cuffless carotid pressure: feasibility study using lower body negative pressure intervention

Blood Press. 2022 Dec;31(1):19-30. doi: 10.1080/08037051.2021.2022453. Epub 2022 Jan 11.


Purpose: Existing technologies to measure central blood pressure (CBP) intrinsically depend on peripheral pressure or calibration models derived from it. Pharmacological or physiological interventions yielding different central and peripheral responses compromise the accuracy of such methods. We present a high-frame-rate ultrasound technology for cuffless and calibration-free evaluation of BP from the carotid artery. The system uses a pair of single-element ultrasound transducers to capture the arterial diameter and local pulse wave velocity (PWV) for the evaluation of beat-by-beat BP employing a novel biomechanical model.

Materials and methods: System's functionality assessment was conducted on eight male subjects (26 ± 4 years, normotensive and no history of cardiovascular risks) by perturbing pressure via short-term moderate lower body negative pressure (LBNP) intervention (-40 mmHg for 1 min). The ability of the system to capture dynamic responses of carotid pressure to LBNP was investigated and compared against the responses of peripheral pressure measured using a continuous BP monitor.

Results: While the carotid pressure manifested trends similar to finger measurements during LBNP, the system also captured the differential carotid-to-peripheral pressure response, which corroborates the literature. The carotid diastolic and mean pressures agreed with the finger pressures (limits-of-agreement within ±7 mmHg) and exhibited acceptable uncertainty (mean absolute errors were 2.4 ± 3.5 and 2.6 ± 4.0 mmHg, respectively). Concurrent to the literature, the carotid systolic and pulse pressures (PPs) were significantly lower than those of the finger pressures by 11.1 ± 9.4 and 11.3 ± 8.2 mmHg, respectively (p < .0001).

Conclusions: The study demonstrated the method's potential for providing cuffless and calibration-free pressure measurements while reliably capturing the physiological aspects, such as PP amplification and dynamic pressure responses to intervention.

Keywords: Calibration-free; carotid-pressure; cuffless; high-frame-rate; image-free-ultrasound; lower-body-negative-pressure.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Blood Pressure Determination / methods
  • Calibration
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Lower Body Negative Pressure*
  • Male
  • Pulse Wave Analysis* / methods