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  Physics Express 2012, 2: 4
  Research Article
Pulse wave velocity measurement in soft walled tubes using laser vibrometry: Towards a new diagnostic technique for detection of atherosclerosis
  A. Campoa, P. Segersb, R. Baetsc, J. Dirckxa  
a Laboratory of BioMedical Physics (BIMEF), Department of Physics, University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, B-2020 Antwerp, Belgium
b Institute Biomedical Technology (IBiTech), Ghent University, De Pintelaan 185 Blok B-5, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
c Photonics Research Group, Department of Information Technology, Ghent University, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 41, 9000 Ghent, Belgium

  When a fluid flowing through an elastic vessel is subjected to sudden changes in pressure gradient, pulse waves will propagate through the fluid. Velocity of these pulse waves (PWV) can be determined by simultaneous detection of wall distension on two discrete points on the vessel wall, along its trajectory. PWV depends on wall stiffness, and under certain circumstances wall stiffness can be calculated from the propagation velocity. It has been shown that, in cardiovascular risk management, arterial wall stiffness has a very good predictive value for cardiovascular disease and overall mortality. This parameter can be estimated from the PWV measured between the carotid (neck) and femoral (groin) artery. However, current methods to determine arterial PWV suffer from several shortcomings. In this paper we explore an alternative approach for detection of PWV, using laser heterodyne vibrometry. By simultaneously measuring wall distension on two distant locations, we determined PWV in silicon tubes of different distensibility. Such tubes can represent a phantom model for blood vessels. We found that measured PWV agrees well with the theoretically expected PWV, and measurement precision is in the order of 8%. With possible clinical applications in mind, the non-contact character of the method combined with the possibility to measure closely located measuring points, promises important advantages over existing methods. Moreover, measurements are straightforward and do not require intensive training. This preliminary study demonstrates the potential of laser vibrometry for the measurement of PWV in an experimental setup.
  PWV; Arteriosclerosis; Doppler; Heterodyne; Vibrometry  

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