Investigators at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) have developed a non-invasive method of measuring localized blood pressure within the vascular system. The technique was developed with help from Esaote engineers, on company’s machines. Using ultrasound to precisely measure blood flow and movement of vessel walls, the investigators were able to apply a newly constructed mathematical algorithm to extrapolate the intravascular pressure.
More details from a TU/e announcement:
They can also see the variations in blood pressure and flow in time as a result of the beating of the heart. The simultaneous knowledge of pressure and flow also provides information about ‘downstream’ parts of the vascular system. The new technique will allow physicians to carry out preventive investigations of the cardiovascular system, for example, and to monitor the development of diseases such as atherosclerosis, thrombosos or aneurysms.
The method was first tested on elastic plastic tubes, and after that on pigs’ carotid arteries from an abattoir, with good results. The technique is currently being tested on volunteers, in advance of clinical tests with patients. The results are promising. It is still expected to take several years before the technique can be used in clinical practice, for example in family doctors’ surgeries, says Bijnens [Nathalie Bijnens]. “By performing a simple scan, the physician can detect vascular disease in an early stage and decide for a preventive treatment.”
This new method for measuring blood pressure is part of a new direction for the research group led by prof. Frans van de Vosse. The group’s work focuses on making mathematical models of the vascular system. “For example we have developed a model to locate the best places to enter veins in the arms of dialysis patients”, says Van de Vosse. “But that model needs detailled input, which is why we decided to develop a measurement method ourselves.”
TU/e press release: Researchers measure blood pressure with ultrasound scanner …
Abstract in Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology: Toward Noninvasive Blood Pressure Assessment in Arteries by Using Ultrasound
(hat tip: Gizmag)