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1.  Ultrasound study of carotid and cardiac remodeling and cardiac-arterial coupling in normal pregnancy and preeclampsia: a case control study 
Cardiovascular adaptions, such as cardiac and uterine spiral arterial remodeling, and aortic arterial stiffening during pregnancy have been extensively investigated, while the interactions between the elastic artery and the left ventricle are poorly understood. This study was to evaluate the cardiac-arterial coupling in both normal pregnancy and preeclampsia using ultrasound techniques.
Twenty-three preeclamptic women with no antihypertensive treatment prior to admission, and 40 age- (27.2 ± 3.0 y vs. 29.1 ± 5.7 y, p = 0.0805) and gestational week- (35.6 ± 3.4 wk vs. 34.8 ± 3.6 wk, p = 0.3573) matched normotensive pregnant women were included. All women signed informed consent. All were nulliparas, had singleton pregnancies, and had no other risk factors for arterial stiffening. Carotid and cardiac ultrasound was performed using a MylabTwice ultrasound unit (Esaote, Italy). Cardiac and carotid remodeling and their associations were analyzed. Left ventriculo-carotid coupling was characterized by the ratio between the arterial elastance (Ea) and the left ventricular systolic elastance (Ees). Follow-up study was performed 16–20 months after parturition.
Left ventricular and carotid arterial remodeling was seen more frequently in preeclamptic women than in normal pregnant controls (96% vs. 40%, 82% vs. 48%, both p < 0.0001). The relative carotid arterial wall thickness showed no significant difference between the two groups. However, the carotid cross-sectional area, a surrogate for carotid arterial mass, was significantly greater in preeclampsia than that in normal controls (11.23 ± 0.17 mm2 vs. 8.58 ± 1.88 mm2, p < 0.00001). Carotid arterial stiffness and intima-media thickness correlated significantly with cardiac diastolic function parameters and blood pressures (p < 0.05). Both Ea and Ees were significantly greater in preeclampsia, compared with values in normal pregnant controls (Ea: 2.41 ± 0.57 mmHg/ml vs. 1.98 ± 0.46 mmHg/ml, p = 0.0005; Ees: 11.68 ± 9.51 m/s2 vs. 6.91 ± 6.13 m/s2, p = 0.002). However, there was no significant difference in the left ventriculo-carotid coupling index, Ea/Ees, between the two groups. Carotid remodeling persisted in both preeclamptic women and normal pregnant controls 16–20 months after parturition.
Significant cardiac and carotid remodeling and similar left ventriculo-carotid coupling were observed in both preeclampsia and normal pregnancy. Carotid remodeling may persist postpartum. Further studies with larger populations are needed to confirm these findings.
PMCID: PMC4000894  PMID: 24666973
Preeclampsia; Ventriculo-arterial coupling; Ultrasound; Diastolic function; Arterial stiffness
2.  Application of Intraoperative Ultrasonography for Guiding Microneurosurgical Resection of Small Subcortical Lesions 
Korean Journal of Radiology  2011;12(5):541-546.
We wanted to evaluate the clinical value of intraoperative ultrasonography for real-time guidance when performing microneurosurgical resection of small subcortical lesions.
Materials and Methods
Fifty-two patients with small subcortical lesions were involved in this study. The pathological diagnoses were cavernous hemangioma in 25 cases, cerebral glioma in eight cases, abscess in eight cases, small inflammatory lesion in five cases, brain parasite infection in four cases and the presence of an intracranial foreign body in two cases. An ultrasonic probe was sterilized and lightly placed on the surface of the brain during the operation. The location, extent, characteristics and adjacent tissue of the lesion were observed by high frequency ultrasonography during the operation.
All the lesions were located in the cortex and their mean size was 1.3 ± 0.2 cm. Intraoperative ultrasonography accurately located all the small subcortical lesions, and so the neurosurgeon could provide appropriate treatment. Different lesion pathologies presented with different ultrasonic appearances. Cavernous hemangioma exhibited irregular shapes with distinct margins and it was mildly hyperechoic or hyperechoic. The majority of the cerebral gliomas displayed irregular shapes with indistinct margins, and they often showed cystic and solid mixed echoes. Postoperative imaging identified that the lesions had completely disappeared, and the original symptoms of all the patients were significantly alleviated.
Intraoperative ultrasonography can help accurately locate small subcortical lesions and it is helpful for selecting the proper approach and guiding thorough resection of these lesions.
PMCID: PMC3168794  PMID: 21927554
Intraoperative ultrasonography; Microneurosurgery; Subcortex
3.  Evaluation of carotid artery elasticity changes in patients with type 2 diabetes 
Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common causes of cardiovascular disease as it causes arterial stiffness changes. The purpose of this study is to characterize, in vivo, carotid arterial structural and functional changes by applying radio frequency and X-strain ultrasound techniques.
Ninety-one subjects were assigned into two groups; a diabetes group and a control group. Structural and functional changes in the common carotid arterial wall were investigated by quality intima-media thickness (QIMT), quality arterial stiffness (QAS), and X-strain analysis with a Mylab Twice ultrasound instrument. The relationships among variables between the two groups were analyzed in this study.
There was no significant difference in carotid IMT (626.5 ± 169.1 μm vs. 568.5 ± 122.6 μm, P = 0.1506) between two groups. Pulse wave velocity (PWV) and stiffness index (β) were remarkably greater (8.388 ± 3.254 m/s vs. 7.269 ± 1.332 m/s; 12.51 ± 14.16 vs.9.279 ± 2.871), while compliance coefficient (CC) decreased significantly in the diabetes group (0.802 ± 0.3094 mm2/Kpa vs. 0.968 ± 0.3992 mm2/Kpa) (P < 0.05). The displacement difference of radial (RD-D), longitudinal (LD-D) and rotation (ROT-D) directions were significantly different between two groups’ comparison (P = 0.0212, P = 0.0235 and P = 0.0072, respectively). The time of circumferential peak strain difference (CS-DT) and the time of radial peak strain rate (RSR-T) were found to be significantly different between the two groups (341.9 ± 77.56 ms vs. 369.0 ± 78.26 ms, P = 0.0494; 142.7 ± 22.43 ms vs. 136.2 ± 30.70 ms, P = 0.0474). CS-TD and RSR-T were also found to be positively correlated with CC value (r = 0.3908, P < 0.005 and r = 0.3027, P = 0.0326, respectively). Finally, PWV was negatively correlated with CC with (r = –0.6177, P < 0.001).
In type 2 diabetes, the functional changes in CCA can be identified using the methods presented in this article earlier than the structural changes. Arterial stiffness values provided by QAS and X-strain analysis can be used as indicators of CCA functional lesions in patients with type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3932017  PMID: 24506844
Arterial stiffness; Intima-media thickness; Diabetes; Strain
4.  Evaluation of the Combined Application of Ultrasound Imaging Techniques for Middle Cerebral Artery Stent Surveillance and Follow-Up Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79410.
In recent years, cerebral artery stenting has become an effective method for the treatment of cerebral artery stenosis. However, methods for assessing efficacy and techniques for follow-up imaging still need to be developed. This study was designed to evaluate the application of transcranial color-coded sonography (TCCS) in assessing stenting of middle cerebral artery (MCA) stenosis. And, two new imaging techniques (vascular enhancement technology (VET) and 3-dimensional (3D) imaging) were tried out and evaluated.
We enrolled 43 patients with cerebral artery stenosis for vascular stent implantation. All patients were examined by ultrasonography and confirmed through digital subtraction angiography. The stenosis was imaged and blood flow parameters were analyzed before and after the procedure using TCCS. VET and 3D imaging model were used in part of the patients. Important postoperative hemodynamic changes were noted.
1) Adequate stent image was present in 41 out of 43 patients as detected by postoperative 2-dimensional imaging. Images lacking clarity were obtained in 2 patients. 2) The perioperative and postoperative (one week follow-up) instantaneous blood flow velocity at the site of stenosis was significantly decreased (P<0.05) when compared with preoperative levels. Differences between postoperative (one week follow-up) and preoperative blood flow velocity were significant (P<0.05). Differences in blood flow velocity at long-term follow-up (six months and two years) compared to one-week values were not statistically significant (P>0.05). 3) VET imaging visualizes the MCA lumen and stent morphology clearly. 3D ultrasound can be used for imaging of the stent shape as well as its inner surface.
TCCD can be considered a quick and effective clinical detection method to evaluate the intracranial arterial hemodynamics changes before and after stenting treatment for MCA stenosis. New imaging technologies 3D and VET can achieve additional image information.
PMCID: PMC3827383  PMID: 24236130
5.  Maternal carotid remodeling and increased carotid arterial stiffness in normal late-gestational pregnancy as assessed by radio-frequency ultrasound technique 
The adaption of elastic arteries to transient increase in hemodynamic load in normal pregnancy (NP) remains controversial. The purpose of this study was to investigate the NP carotid remodeling and regional arterial stiffness before and after parturition.
Fifty-one NP women and 30 age-matched non-pregnant women were included. All women underwent right common carotid artery (RCCA) measurements with MylabTwice ultrasound instrument (Esaote, Italy). Carotid intima-medial thickness (IMT), pulse wave velocity (PWV, m/s), distensibility coefficient (DC, 1/KPa), α, β, augmentation index (AIx, %) and carotid arterial pressure were obtained by the newly developed ultrasound vascular wall tracking methods: automatic QAS (Quality Arterial Stiffness) and QIMT (Quality Intima-Medial Thickness) Follow up study was performed.
Compared to the non-pregnant controls, the arterial pressures were significantly increased and RCCA diameter was significantly enlarged in late gestational NP women. Twenty months after parturition, carotid diameter, DC, AIx, PWV and arterial wall tension were significantly decreased and had no significant difference with those in non-pregnant controls.
Carotid arterial remodeling and stiffening could be seen in the normal pregnant women, which seems to be a physiological adaption and could be recovered post partum. QIMT and QAS together could provide a comprehensive assessment of the maternal carotid arterial changes during pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC3669620  PMID: 23710816
Arterial stiffness; Intima-media thickness; Carotid artery; Normal pregnancy; Arterial remodeling
6.  Mechanism Study of Pulsus Paradoxus Using Mechanical Models 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57512.
Pulsus paradoxus is an exaggeration of the normal inspiratory decrease in systolic blood pressure. Despite a century of attempts to explain this sign consensus is still lacking. To solve the controversy and reveal the exact mechanism, we reexamined the characteristic anatomic arrangement of the circulation system in the chest and designed these mechanical models based on related hydromechanic principles. Model 1 was designed to observe the primary influence of respiratory intrathoracic pressure change (RIPC) on systemic and pulmonary venous return systems (SVR and PVR) respectively. Model 2, as an equivalent mechanical model of septal swing, was to study the secondary influence of RIPC on the motion of the interventriclar septum (IVS), which might be the direct cause for pulsus paradoxus. Model 1 demonstrated that the simulated RIPC had different influence on the simulated SVR and PVR. It increased the volume of the simulated right ventricle (SRV) when the internal pressure was kept constant (8.16 cmH2O), while it had the opposite effect on PVR. Model 2 revealed the three major factors determining the respiratory displacement of IVS in normal and different pathophysiological conditions: the magnitude of RIPC, the pressure difference between the two ventricles and the intrapericardial pressure. Our models demonstrate that the different anatomical arrangement of the two venous return systems leads to a different effect of RIPC on right and left ventricles, and thus a pressure gradient across IVS that tends to shift IVS left- and rightwards. When the leftward displacement of IVS reaches a considerable amplitude in some pathologic condition such as cardiac tamponade, the pulsus paradoxus occurs.
PMCID: PMC3585346  PMID: 23469010
7.  Simultaneous Beat-by-Beat Investigation of the Effects of the Valsalva Maneuver on Left and Right Ventricular Filling and the Possible Mechanism 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53917.
Although the influence of the Valsalva maneuver on the heart and circulatory system has been investigated, the mechanism of intrathoracic pressure influencing cardiovascular function is unclear. To test our hypothesis that the interaction between the anatomy-determined partially-intrathoracic system and the fully-intrathoracic system might explain those issues and help to disclose the mechanism, we used the Hitachi dual pulse wave Doppler echocardiographic apparatus to investigate simultaneously the beat-by-beat influence of 40-mmHg Valsalva maneuver on left and right cardiac ventricular filling in 30 male adult volunteers. The mitral and tricuspid blood inflow velocity spectra during the Valsalva maneuver were recorded simultaneously. The peak velocity (PV), velocity–time integral (VTI) and inflow volume (IV) of each cycle were measured or calculated. The PV, VTI and IV of the left heart remained unchanged at the first beat after the Valsalva maneuver onset (compared with those at rest, p>0.1) and then decreased gradually to the lowest at the 11±1.2th beat (range, 9th to 12th beat). Simultaneously, the PV, VTI and IV of the right heart decreased significantly (p<0.05) at the first cycle, decreased rapidly to the lowest at the 6±0.8th beat (range, 4th to 7th beat) and then increased gradually to the 9±1.3th beat (range, 8th to 10th beat). These results suggest that the left heart and right heart have different physiological responses to the Valsalva maneuver. These could be explained by our hypothesis, the interaction between the partially-intrathoracic system and the fully-intrathoracic system, which might help to disclose the mechanism of how intrathoracic pressure influences the heart and circulatory system.
PMCID: PMC3544743  PMID: 23342040
8.  A prospective experimental study of liver fibrosis with ultrasound and its correlation with hepatic reserve function and hemodynamics 
BMC Gastroenterology  2012;12:168.
Progressive hepatic fibrosis is the eventual cause of liver cirrhosis. Doppler ultrasound has been used to detect hemodynamic changes that are known to be present during the pre-cirrhotic stages of hepatic fibrogenesis. However, the relationship between the Doppler ultrasound parameters and the impairment of the liver function has not been fully investigated. The purpose of this study was to explore the hepatic function reserve and its relationship with the hepatic hemodynamics in a rabbit model of liver fibrosis using Doppler ultrasound.
A prospective study was performed. Sixty healthy New Zealand rabbits were included in this study. Eleven of them served as controls and were normally fed and provided with water drink; the rest of 49 rabbits that served as fibrosis group were normally fed but provided with 1.2 g/L of thioacetamide to create liver fibrosis model. Doppler measurements were performed in the portal trunk, proper hepatic artery and proper splenic artery. The hepatic circulation index (HCI) was calculated. Hepatic function reverse was evaluated by measuring the indocyanine green clearance and retention rate at 15 min (ICG R15) test. Portal venous pressure (PVP) was measured using the portal vein punctuation equipment.
HCI was significantly decreased and PVP increased in the advanced fibrotic stage (F4) compared to mild and moderate fibrotic stage (F1-3), respectively (p<0.05). PVP and ICG R15 in the fibrotic group were significantly higher than that in the control group (ICG: 0.209±0.086 vs. 0.093±0.023, p<0.01). Within the fibrotic groups, PVP was higher in advanced fibrotic stage (F4) than those in mild (F1-2) or moderate (F3) fibrotic stages (p<0.05). Both HCI and PVP correlated well with ICG R15 (r = −0.890, and r = 0.780, p <0.01).
Hepatic function reserve closely relates to the hepatic hemodynamics in the rabbit model of liver fibrosis. Doppler Ultrasound could be reliably used to assess the hepatic function reserve and hemodynamic changes in different stages of liver fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC3526408  PMID: 23173929
Hepatic circulation index; Liver fibrosis; Hepatic function reserve; Doppler
9.  Artificial neural network aided non-invasive grading evaluation of hepatic fibrosis by duplex ultrasonography 
Artificial neural networks (ANNs) are widely studied for evaluating diseases. This paper discusses the intelligence mode of an ANN in grading the diagnosis of liver fibrosis by duplex ultrasonogaphy.
239 patients who were confirmed as having liver fibrosis or cirrhosis by ultrasound guided liver biopsy were investigated in this study. We quantified ultrasonographic parameters as significant parameters using a data optimization procedure applied to an ANN. 179 patients were typed at random as the training group; 60 additional patients were consequently enrolled as the validating group. Performance of the ANN was evaluated according to accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, Youden’s index and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis.
5 ultrasonographic parameters; i.e., the liver parenchyma, thickness of spleen, hepatic vein (HV) waveform, hepatic artery pulsatile index (HAPI) and HV damping index (HVDI), were enrolled as the input neurons in the ANN model. The sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of the ANN model for quantitative diagnosis of liver fibrosis were 95.0%, 85.0% and 88.3%, respectively. The Youden’s index (YI) was 0.80.
The established ANN model had good sensitivity and specificity in quantitative diagnosis of hepatic fibrosis or liver cirrhosis. Our study suggests that the ANN model based on duplex ultrasound may help non-invasive grading diagnosis of liver fibrosis in clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC3444307  PMID: 22716936
Artificial neural network; Ultrasound diagnosis; Hepatic fibrosis
10.  Grey scale enhancement by a new self-made contrast agent in early cirrhotic stage of rabbit liver 
BMC Gastroenterology  2007;7:32.
The development of new ultrasound contrast agents (UCAs) has become one of the most promising fields in ultrasound medicine. This paper evaluates a new self-made contrast agent enhancement effect developed to study the fibrotic stages of the liver in perfusion models in vivo.
We constructed experimental models of hepatic fibrosis involving five stages from F0 to F4 via administration of CCL4 (0.01 ml/kg BW) every 3 days for 3 months. The intrahepatic circulatory time of the contrast agent was analyzed via an image and Cine-loop display. Calculations of the perfusion-related parameters including the peak signal intensity (PSI) and peak signal intensity time (PIT) of the portal vein and parenchyma were obtained from an analysis of the time-acoustic intensity curve.
Hepatic artery to vein transmit time (HA-HVTT) was significantly shorter at F4 stage (mean 5.1 seconds) compared with those in other stages (mean 8.3 s, 7.5 s, 6.9 s, 6.6 s, P < 0.01). The average PSI difference of PV-parenchyma was 13.62 dB in F4 stage, demonstrating significant differences between F4 stage and other early stages (P < 0.001).
These results indicate that the new self-made contrast agent is capable of indicating intrahepatic hemodynamic changes. HA-HVTT and the PSI difference of the microbubble perfusion in liver parenchyma and PV were considered to differentiate the degree of hepatic fibrosis between F4 and other early stages.
PMCID: PMC1963445  PMID: 17686161
11.  Comparison of tricuspid inflow and superior vena caval Doppler velocities in acute simulated hypovolemia: new non-invasive indices for evaluating right ventricular preload 
Assessment of cardiac preload is important for clinical management of some emergencies related to hypovolemia. Effects of acute simulated hypovolemia on Doppler blood flow velocity indices of tricuspid valve (TV) and superior vena cava (SVC) were investigated in order to find sensitive Doppler indices for predicting right ventricular preload.
Doppler flow patterns of SVC and TV in 12 healthy young men were examined by transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) during graded lower body negative pressure (LBNP) of up to -60 mm Hg which simulated acute hypovolemia. Peak velocities of all waves and their related ratios (SVC S/D and tricuspid E/A) were measured, calculated and statistically analyzed.
Except for the velocity of tricuspid A wave, velocities of all waves and their related ratios declined during volume decentralization. Of all indices measured, the peak velocities of S wave and AR wave in SVC correlated most strongly with levels of LBNP (r = -0.744 and -0.771, p < 0.001).
The S and AR velocities are of good values in assessing right ventricular preload. Monitoring SVC flow may provide a relatively noninvasive means to assess direct changes in right ventricular preload.
PMCID: PMC1481501  PMID: 16700924
12.  The characteristics of the spectra of superior venae cavae in patients with right heart failure 
Aimed to elucidate the characteristics of the spectra of superior venae cavae (SVC) in respiratory cycles in patients with right heart failure.
The spectra of SVC of 30 patients with right heart failure and 30 paired healthy subjects were recorded through right supraclavicular fossa view. The profiles of spectra of superior venae cavae were observed, and peak velocity and velocity time integral (VTI) of every wave of SVC under spontaneous respiration were measured for statistical analysis.
In healthy subjects, the peak velocities and VTI of S wave and D wave increased in inspiratory phase and diminished in expiratory phase, and which of S wave were larger than which of D wave in whole respiratory cycle. In patients with right heart failure, spectral variations of SVC could be classified into three patterns: Pattern I: peak velocities and VTI of S wave were larger than that of D wave in early inspiratory phase, but peak velocities and VTI of D wave were larger than those of S wave in late inspiratory phase and early expiratory phase [Pattern I-1], even in whole respiratory cycle [Pattern I-2]; Pattern II: the S wave disappeared and was substituted by inverse wave with low amplitude in whole respiratory cycle. Pattern III: the profiles of the spectra of SVC in patients were similar to those of healthy subjects. In the whole, the respiratory variation ratios of peak velocities and VTI of S wave and D wave were diminished in patients compared with those in healthy subjects.
The spectra of superior venae cavae in patients with right heart failure were abnormal, and these characteristics could be used as signs in evaluating right heart failure.
PMCID: PMC1501053  PMID: 16600053

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