Reduced common carotid artery longitudinal wall motion and intramural shear strain in individuals with elevated cardiovascular disease risk using speckle tracking.
The longitudinal movement of blood vessel walls has so far gained little or no attention, as it has been presumed that these movements are of a negligible magnitude. However, modern high-resolution ultrasound scanners can demonstrate that the inner layers of the arterial wall exhibit considerable movements in the longitudinal direction. This paper evaluates a new, noninvasive, echo-tracking technique, which simultaneously can track both the radial and the longitudinal movements of the arterial wall with high resolution in vivo. Initially, the method is evaluated in vitro using a specially designed ultrasound phantom, which is attached to and moved by an X-Y system, the movement of which was compared with two high-resolution triangulation lasers. The results show an inaccuracy of 2.5% full scale deflection (fsd), reproducibility of 12 microm and a resolution of 5 microm, which should be more than sufficient for in vivo studies. The ability of the method is also demonstrated in a limited in vivo study in which a preselected part of the inner vessel wall of the right common carotid artery of a healthy volunteer is tracked in two dimensions over many cardiac cycles. The results show well reproducible x-y movement loops in which the recorded radial and longitudinal movements both are of the magnitude millimetre.