Ultrasound assessment of maternal endothelial function: a tool for epidemiology

Ganesh Acharya, Torvid Kiserud, Per Lunde


The endothelium, the inner layer of vessels, represents a huge organ, an important regulator and mediator of vasoactive factors. A number of common diseases including preeclampsia, hypertension, coronary heart disease and diabetes have been linked to poor endothelial function. Tests have been developed to measure endothelial function, but have not been suitable for population-based studies until they became noninvasive. Ultrasound imaging of the vessel diameter and the blood velocity has opened that door. The techniques are used to assess vascular distension and increased flow velocity as a response to reactive hyperemia after arterial occusion or administration of different drugs. Here we discuss the background, describe the techniques currently in use and their potential application in epidemiological studies.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5324/nje.v19i1.9

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