Variability in ultrasonic measurements of arterial stiffness in the atherosclerosis risk in communities study

Donna K. Arnett, Lloyd E. Chambless, Ho Kim, Gregory W. Evans, Ward Riley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Arterial stiffness is emerging as an important risk marker for cardiovascular disease. Ultrasound-based measurements of arterial stiffness are in use by several large epidemiological studies. The reliability of ultrasonic measurements of arterial stiffness was assessed as part of one of these, the Atherosclerosis Risk in communities (ARIC) study. ARIC, a prospective, four-center epidemiological study, used B-mode ultrasound with an electronic tracking device to measure arterial stiffness of the carotid artery. Oscillometric blood pressure measures were obtained before and after the arterial wall tracking. Measurement variability was estimated in 36 volunteers who were scanned at three visits conducted at 7- to 14-day intervals. Between- and within-person components of variation were estimated for arterial diameter and blood-pressure measurements. The correlation (R) between repeated measurements for pulse pressure, the percent change in arterial diameter (strain), and the percent and absolute change in the arterial area were 0.69, 0.67, 0.66 and 0.81, respectively. The R for the stress-strain elastic modulus (Ep), arterial distensibility, and arterial compliance were 0.66, 0.67, and 0.77, respectively. The R for the pressure- adjusted diameter change (i.e., diameter change adjusted for diastolic and pulse pressures) was 0.75. In summary, the ultrasonic measurements of arterial stiffness employed in the ARIC study demonstrate excellent short- term repeatability, demonstrating their utility in field settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-180
Number of pages6
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1999


  • Arterial stiffness
  • B-mode ultrasound
  • Distensibility
  • Elastic modulus
  • Measurement variability
  • Reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


Dive into the research topics of 'Variability in ultrasonic measurements of arterial stiffness in the atherosclerosis risk in communities study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this