Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Local Pulsewave Velocity Measurement Using a Linear Array

Technology #3529

Pulse Wave Velocity for Measuring Arterial Compliance and Assessing Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

This technology uses standard ultrasound imaging equipment to measure arterial pulse wave velocity and intramural strain locally and non-invasively. Measuring these two parameters simultaneously and locally enables early detection of local changes in arterial compliance. Reduced arterial compliance indicates the presence of various diseases including caradiovascular diseases, diabetes, and renal failure.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and affects the quality of life of many individuals. The speed at which the pressure wave from a heart contraction propagates through the vasculature, called pulse wave velocity (PWV), can indicate the health of the vasculature and be used to assess risk for many vascular diseases. Typically measurements of PWV occur between two distant locations in the vasculature, and thus the measured value corresponds to an average estimate of arterial compliance. The early stages of atherosclerosis, however, involve fibrous lesions that are only several millimeters in diameter and scattered along the vasculature walls that reduce arterial compliance. Ideally, these local changes in arterial compliance could be detected, thereby providing an earlier diagnosis and permitting earlier intervention than existing methods.

Ultrasound-based Local Measurements of PWV and Intramural Strain to Assess Local Changes in Arterial Compliance.

Using commercial ultrasound probes, researchers in the Department of Internal Medicine, Biomedical Engineering, and Radiology have developed a method for locally assessing the elastic modulus of the vasculature wall. This improved method uses the signal from the ultrasound probe to measure the local PWV and, in the same location, the intramural strain of the vasculature. By measuring these two parameters separately, the intrinsic elastic modulus of distended vasculature can be determined. As a proof of principle, the researchers demonstrated that these local measurements and the resulting values for elastic modulus could be used to distinguish easily between healthy vasculature and diseased vasculature with reduced arterial compliance. This technique enables local measurements of arterial compliance to be performed non-invasively and with greater resolution, precision, and accuracy than those provided in current techniques. This ability should enable early diagnosis of vascular disease and permit patients to take preventative measures earlier than they previously could.

Applications and Advantages


-Measurement of local pulse wave velocity, intramural strain, and elastic modulus. -Early diagnosis of arthrosclerosis


  • Increased resolution, precision, and accuracy in assessing arterial compliance
  • Early detection of reduced arterial compliance