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Health Systems Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
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Early Diagnosis of Cardiovascular Health via a Clinically Deployable Noninvasive Measurement of Vascular Function

One third of the U.S. population has one or more cardiovascular risk factors which are associated with endothelial dysfunction, an important factor in the pathogenesis of hypertension, diabetes and atherosclerosis. There is a strong correlation of endothelial dysfunction in one vascular bed to another. A non-invasive test to detect abnormal endothelial function would lead to earlier detection and treatment before disease progression, and would save lives as well as reduce healthcare costs. While standard techniques (ultrasound and MRI) exist to quantify endothelial dysfunction, high costs and a significant degree of operator training preclude such diagnoses from being deployed in a routine clinical setting.

The objective of this investigation is to refine and validate a non-invasive, electrical impedance-based system prototype that can be operated with minimal operator training. This system will be evaluated in a clinical trial aimed at demonstrating the efficacy of electrical impedance measurements for measurement of vascular function as compared to "gold standard" ultrasound-based measurements. The proposed system is expected to provide an enhanced diagnostic capability with improved reliability and at a significantly lower cost than other non-invasive ultrasonic or MRI systems. If successful, future work will focus on developing a system that can be operated by a minimally trained clinical healthcare provider.

Investigators: Robert Butera (GT, Electrical & Computer Engineering), A. Maziar Zafari (Emory, Cardiology)

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