Researchers using ultrasound to measure abdominal aortic aneurysms

Researchers at Purdue University's Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering are investigating how ultrasound can be used to study abdominal aortic aneurysms, the 13th leading cause of death in the U.S.

Most of the time people don't even know it's there, but if it does rupture they have internal bleeding from the largest artery in the body," said Craig Goergen an assistant professor in Purdue University's Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering in an announcement. "Eighty percent of the time the patient dies before getting to the hospital."

Ultrasound is currently the preferred screening test for abdominal aortic aneurysms, but these researchers are using what is called high-frequency small animal ultrasound to measure changes in abdominal aortic aneurysms with the idea, Goergen said, that by learning more about aneurysms researchers will be able to develop therapies to keep them from growing bigger.

The technique uses color Doppler imaging, which allows researchers to collect color-coded blood flow data concerning the direction and speed of blood circulation, factors that could influence how aneurysms develop and expand.

In a study that will be presented Oct. 25 at the annual meeting of the Biomedical Engineering Society in San Antonio, researchers used ultrasound imaging to quantify changes over a four-week period in aneurysms in mice and rats.

"We're doing three-dimensional ultrasound that can reconstruct that whole aorta," Goergen said, adding that because the technique is non-invasive it can hopefully be used on humans to diagnose and track aneurysm progression.

According to research published last month in Radiology, transcranial Doppler ultrasound can help to identify asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis patients who are at risk for stroke. Consequently, researchers led by Ankur Pandya, Ph.D., of Weill Cornell Medical College, determined the use of Doppler ultrasound can further identify patients most likely to benefit from revascularization procedures.

Additionally, the use of compression ultrasonography with Doppler imaging of the iliac vein can be used to rule out deep vein thrombosis in symptomatic pregnant women, according to research published in early 2013.

To learn more:
- see the announcement from Purdue University