Interdisciplinary Initiatives Program Round 3 – 2006

Sandy Napel, Radiology
T. Khuri-Yakub, Electrical Engineering
R. Brooke Jeffrey, Radiology

Stroke continues to be a major contributor to morbidity, mortality and health care costs in the developed world and is likely to increase in overall importance as a disease entity due to the aging population. Because a major source of stroke is atherosclerotic disease in a major blood vessel in the neck, the determination of individuals who would benefit from such interventions requires imaging ofthis vessel, the carotid artery. Only ultrasound is potentially applicable to imaging a symptomatic individuals due to its lack of radiation and relatively low cost. However, handheld 2D ultrasound with current transducer technology requires that a technologist position and hold steady a longitudinally-oriented vessel cross-section, resulting in high inter- and intra-operator variability and, therefore, requiring a highly skilled ultrasonographer to perform the clinical examination. The purpose of this interdisciplinary collaboration is to develop an innovative ultrasound transducer tightly coupled to intelligent image analysis software that, together, will provide accurate and reproducible measurements of peak blood velocity, which correlate with the severity of carotid disease. We envision this systemto become as ubiquitous as a blood pressure cuff, and even easier to use, and that it will be utilized during routine check-ups and screenings to identify those at risk for a serious, life-threatening stroke.