Measurement of regional elastic properties of the human aorta. A new application of transesophageal echocardiography with automated border detection and calibrated subclavian pulse tracings.
BACKGROUND Evaluation of regional aortic elastic properties in humans has been hampered by the need for invasive techniques to access instantaneous aortic pressure, wall thickness, and cross-sectional area or diameter. In this study, a new noninvasive method is presented for quantification of regional aortic elastic properties.
METHODS AND RESULTS Twenty-five patients were studied during transesophageal echocardiographic procedures. Measurements of instantaneous aortic cross-sectional area were obtained with an automated border detection algorithm applied to short-axis transesophageal two-dimensional echocardiographic images of the proximal descending thoracic aorta. Instantaneous aortic wall thickness was derived from combined two-dimensional targeted M-mode end-diastolic wall thickness and instantaneous aortic area measurements. Instantaneous aortic pressures were estimated from calibrated subclavian pulse tracings recorded simultaneously. Data were digitized to generate aortic area-pressure loops. Regional aortic mechanical properties were quantified in terms of compliance per unit length (C is the slope of the area-pressure regression), aortic midwall radius (Rm), and incremental elastic modulus of the aortic wall (Einc). To assess the independent effect of age, Rm and Einc values were compared at a common level of aortic midwall stress (0.666 x 10(6) dynes/cm2). Mean values (+/- SD) for C, Rm, and Einc were 0.01 +/- 0.004 cm2/mm Hg, 1.14 +/- 0.17 cm, and 7.059 +/- 4.091 x 10(6) dynes/cm2, respectively. An inverse linear correlation was found between aortic compliance per unit length and age (r = -.68, P < .0007). Incremental elastic modulus was related to age (r = +.80, P < .00003) in a nonlinear fashion such that it increased sharply after the age of 60 years. Finally, midwall radius was less tightly correlated with age (r = +.45, P < .05). Values for C, Rm, and Einc as well as the age dependency of these properties are similar to those reported previously when invasive techniques were used.
CONCLUSIONS This methodology constitutes a new tool to improve the clinical evaluation of regional aortic elastic properties in multiple disease states.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association