The Ultrasound Window Into Vascular Ageing: A Technology Review by the VascAgeNet COST Action

Elisabetta Bianchini, Andrea Guala, Spyretta Golemati, Jordi Alastruey, Rachel E Climie, Kalliopi Dalakleidi, Martina Francesconi, Dieter Fuchs, Yvonne Hartman, Afrah E F Malik, Monika Makūnaitė, Konstantina S Nikita, Chloe Park, Christopher J A Pugh, Agnė Šatrauskienė, Dimitrios Terentes-Printizios, Alexandra Teynor, Dick Thijssen, Arno Schmidt-Trucksäss, Jūratė ZupkauskienėPierre Boutouyrie, Rosa Maria Bruno, Koen D Reesink

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Non-invasive ultrasound (US) imaging enables the assessment of the properties of superficial blood vessels. Various modes can be used for vascular characteristics analysis, ranging from radiofrequency (RF) data, Doppler- and standard B/M-mode imaging, to more recent ultra-high frequency and ultrafast techniques. The aim of the present work was to provide an overview of the current state-of-the-art non-invasive US technologies and corresponding vascular ageing characteristics from a technological perspective. Following an introduction about the basic concepts of the US technique, the characteristics considered in this review are clustered into: 1) vessel wall structure; 2) dynamic elastic properties, and 3) reactive vessel properties. The overview shows that ultrasound is a versatile, non-invasive, and safe imaging technique that can be adopted for obtaining information about function, structure, and reactivity in superficial arteries. The most suitable setting for a specific application must be selected according to spatial and temporal resolution requirements. The usefulness of standardization in the validation process and performance metric adoption emerges. Computer-based techniques should always be preferred to manual measures, as long as the algorithms and learning procedures are transparent and well described, and the performance leads to better results. Identification of a minimal clinically important difference is a crucial point for drawing conclusions regarding robustness of the techniques and for the translation into practice of any biomarker.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2183-2213
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Ultrasound in Medicine
Issue number10
Early online date6 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


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