Advanced Ultrasound in Diagnosis and Therapy ›› 2023, Vol. 7 ›› Issue (1): 8-15.doi: 10.37015/AUDT.2023.220030

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Application and Progress of Ultrasound Technology in Atherosclerosis

Qiaoer Gong, BSa, Nianyu Xue, MSb,*()   

  1. a The First Affiliated Hospital of Ningbo University, Zhejiang, China
    b Department of Ultrasound, Ningbo First Hospital, Zhejiang, China
  • Received:2022-08-16 Accepted:2022-10-12 Online:2023-03-30 Published:2023-03-30
  • Contact: Nianyu Xue, MS,


Atherosclerosis (AS) is the main pathophysiological process behind CVD. Cardiovascular diseases caused by AS (such as stroke, coronary heart disease, etc.) are characterized by a high prevalence, high disability rate and high mortality, which greatly increase the burden on families and society. Thus, it is important to find AS as early as possible. When atherosclerosis occurs, the earliest sign of its structural and functional changes is arterial stiffness, and endothelial dysfunction is the key link. Arteriosclerosis is caused by the imbalance between collagen and elastin in the arteries. Elastin fibers gradually decrease, and stiffer collagen fibers increase, making the vessels less elastic. Endothelial dysfunction also affects the regulatory function of arterial vascular tension, and accelerates the remodeling of the vascular wall, to make blood vessels more rigid. Quantitative measurement of arterial stiffness and carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) is an important tool for early detection of vascular lesions. At present, ultrasound technology including echo tracking (ET), wave intensity (WI), real-time shear wave elastography (SWE), ultrafast pulse wave velocity (ufPWV), shear wave dispersion (SWD), cardio-ankle vascular index (CAVI), arterial velocity pulse index and arterial pressure volume index (AVI and API) has the advantages of being noninvasive, real-time, economical and reproducible in the assessment of atherosclerosis, and is widely used in the early diagnosis of AS. Most importantly, the change in arterial hardness detected by traditional ultrasound technology precedes the change in intima-media thickness, suggesting that ultrasonic elasticity monitoring may be a more sensitive method of predicting AS and can find and prevent cardiovascular diseases earlier.

Key words: Ultrasonography; Atherosclerosis; Vascular stiffness; Carotid intima-media thickness