It is considered that the endothelial dysfunction occurs in the initial step of atherosclerosis. Although assessments of the endothelial function and viscoelastic properties of the intima-media region are important for the diagnosis of early-stage atherosclerosis, regional viscoelasticity has not yet been measured in vivo. Our group has developed an ultrasonic method for measuring the transient change in viscoelasticity during flow-mediated dilation (FMD). However, in this method, the stress (blood pressure) and strain of the intima-media region of the radial artery are measured in different arms, and the change in pulse wave velocity (PWV) due to FMD has not yet been considered. In the present study, we measured blood pressure waveforms using two pressure sensors, which were placed along the same radial artery for the ultrasonic measurement, to obtain blood pressure waveforms and estimate the PWV between the two sensors. Using the measured PWV, the pulse wave propagation time from the pressure sensor to the position of the ultrasound probe was corrected, and viscoelasticity was estimated from the corrected stress-strain relationship. In the basic experiment, we applied the proposed method to a silicone tube phantom and evaluated the accuracy of the estimation of viscoelasticity by comparing the ultrasonic measurement to the results of the tensile test. In the in vivo measurements, the change in the propagation time delay of the pulse wave was also corrected using the two pressure sensors and the stress-strain relationship of the radial arterial wall was then obtained to estimate viscoelasticity. Furthermore, a decrease in elasticity owing to FMD after recirculation was clearly observed, and the unstable temporal variation in viscosity was significantly reduced. These results demonstrated the improvement in the accuracy of the measurement of viscoelasticity by the proposed method.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)