Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New ultrasound device may add in detecting risk for heart attack, stroke

Date:
April 24, 2014
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
A new ultrasound device that could help identify arterial plaque that is at high risk of breaking off and causing heart attack or stroke has been developed by researchers. The prototype device has performed well in laboratory testing, but the researchers say they are continuing to optimize the technology. They hope to launch pre-clinical studies in the near future.

The new ultrasound device will help identify “vulnerable” plaque that increases risk of heart attack or stroke.
Credit: Xiaoning Jiang

Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed an ultrasound device that could help identify arterial plaque that is at high risk of breaking off and causing heart attack or stroke.

At issue is the plaque that builds up in arteries as we age. Some types of plaque are deemed "vulnerable," meaning that they are more likely to detach from the artery wall and cause heart attack or stroke.

"Existing state-of-the-art technologies are capable of determining if plaque is present in the arteries, but can't tell whether it's vulnerable. And that makes it difficult to assess a patient's risk," says Dr. Paul Dayton, co-author of a paper on the new device and professor in the joint biomedical engineering department at NC State and Chapel Hill. "Our goal was to develop something that could effectively identify which plaques are vulnerable."

There are two ultrasound techniques that can help identify vulnerable plaques, but both depend on the use of contrast agents called "microbubbles."

The first technique is to identify "vasa vasorum" in arteries. These are clusters of small blood vessels that often infiltrate arterial plaque, and which are considered indicators that a plaque is vulnerable. When microbubbles are injected into an artery, they follow the flow of the blood. If vasa vasorum are present, the microbubbles will flow through these blood vessels as well, effectively highlighting them on ultrasound images.

The second technique is called molecular imaging, and relies on the use of "targeted" microbubbles. These microbubbles attach themselves to specific molecules that are more likely to be found in vulnerable plaques, making the plaques stand out on ultrasound images.

"The problem is that existing intravascular ultrasound technology does not do a very good job in detecting contrast agents," says Dr. Xiaoning Jiang, an NC State associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, an adjunct professor of biomedical engineering and co-author of the paper.

"So we've developed a dual-frequency intravascular ultrasound transducer which transmits and receives acoustic signals," Jiang says. "Operating on two frequencies allows us to do everything the existing intravascular ultrasound devices can do, but also makes it much easier for us to detect the contrast agents -- or microbubbles -- used for molecular imaging and vasa vasorum detection."

The prototype device has performed well in laboratory testing, but the researchers say they are continuing to optimize the technology. They hope to launch pre-clinical studies in the near future.

The paper, "A preliminary engineering design of intravascular dual-frequency transducers for contrast enhanced acoustic angiography and molecular imaging," is published in the May issue of IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. The original article was written by Matt Shipman. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "New ultrasound device may add in detecting risk for heart attack, stroke." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140424102609.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2014, April 24). New ultrasound device may add in detecting risk for heart attack, stroke. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140424102609.htm
North Carolina State University. "New ultrasound device may add in detecting risk for heart attack, stroke." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140424102609.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins