UK researchers believe ultrasound could identify CVD before symptoms appear

Researchers from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom found that preclinical ultrasound could improve detection of diseases in blood vessels and identify early signs of cardiovascular disease before a patient develops symptoms, according to research published online in the August issue of Ultrasound.  

Furthermore, the research shows that ultrasound technology can detect early changes in blood vessel function, explained lead author Mike Kelly, PhD, preclinical imaging manager form the University of Leicester, and colleagues. For the study, two mice with aortic aneurysm and atherosclerosis (AAA) were monitored with ultrasound imaging to track disease progression.  

Decreased arterial distension and increased artery wall stiffness were found in both mice, which the researchers noted as an early indicator for CVD. Additionally, their findings showed changes in the ability of the mice’s blood vessels to pulsate as the disease progresses.  

“Our research shows that both lifestyle (dietary) and genetic factors can lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease,” Kelly said in a prepared statement. “Our study also suggests that the ultrasound methods we employed can detect early changes in blood vessel function that can serve as a marker for detection of disease.”