A new ultrasound device developed by researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can aid in stroke and heart attack detection by helping to identify arterial plaque that is at high risk of breaking off and causing these conditions. Paul Dayton, PhD, co-author of the paper on the new device, explains, “Existing state-of-the-art technologies are capable of determining if plaque is present in the arteries, but can’t tell whether it’s vulnerable. Our goal was to develop something that could effectively identify which plaques are vulnerable.”

Xiaoning Jiang, PhD, co-author of the paper, “So we’ve developed a dual-frequency intravascular ultrasound transducer which transmits and receives acoustic signals. Operating on two frequencies allows us to do everything the existing intravascular ultrasound devices can do, but also makes it much easier for us to detect the contrast agents — or microbubbles — used for molecular imaging and vasa vasorum detection.”

According to a news release from North Carolina State University, the prototype device has performed well in laboratory testing, but the researchers say they are continuing to optimize the technology. The research team hopes to launch pre-clinical studies in the near future.

The paper, titled “A preliminary engineering design of intravascular dual-frequency transducers for contrast enhanced acoustic angiography and molecular imaging,” is published in the May issue of IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control.

Photo Appears Courtesy of Xiaoning Jiang

Source: North Carolina State University