Saturday, February 11, 2012

New method tests arterial stiffness (Japan)

Japanese researchers have developed a new method to measure arterial stiffness, a contributor to heart disease that has been difficult to assess. Hidehiko Komine of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tokyo and colleagues said the new method also can influence blood pressure readings since these rely on the time taken for arteries to return to normal volume and flow after compression. This simple, non-invasive, calculation is able to interpret standard oscillometric measurements to quantify both arterial stiffness and blood pressure simultaneously, the researchers said. Arterial stiffness is also associated with type 2 diabetes and is involved in the development of the circulatory problems. However, arterial stiffness can be addressed, if caught early enough, by diet and exercise so early detection is essential. Typically arterial pressure is measured using tonomography or ultrasound but both of these are difficult to perform and consequently are often inaccurate, Komine said. "Interpreting oscillating blood pressure provided the same accuracy of measurement for arterial stiffness as either of the established methods," Komine said in a statement. "Not only did arterial stiffness index match brachial arterial stiffness measured by tomography but it also correlated with ultrasound measurement of the stiffness of arteries supplying the heart. This means that, using the oscillating cuffs already in place in many clinical settings, arterial stiffness index could provide an early indicator of cardiovascular disease." The findings were published in the BioMedical Engineering OnLine

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