Your visit will usually begin with providing a blood sample via venipuncture. The
blood samples will be analyzed using an ELISA assay in order to measure two cardiovascular
biomarkers, CRP and s-eng. CRP is an inflammatory biomarker and s-eng is an anti-angiogenesis,
inhibits new blood vessel formation, biomarker.
One of the tests during your visit will use a Sphygmacor device. This pencil-like
device is laid on top of the skin to measure your pulse wave in the radial artery
in your wrist. It is also used to measure your pulse wave velocity in your carotid
and femoral artery. These measurements are then used to determine your arterial stiffness.
An ultrasound will be used to image your carotid artery. This picture is used to measure
the intima-media thickness (a measure of plaque buildup) in your carotid artery as
well as your pulse wave velocity in your carotid artery.
Strain Gauge Plethysmography
The final test in your visit will be measuring your forearm’s reactive hyperemia,
that is, how reactive your blood vessels are to changes in blood flow. Three blood
pressure cuffs will be placed on your right arm, two on your upper arm and one on
your wrist. The blood pressure cuffs will be inflated for 5 minutes, and when released
the strain gauge will measure the blood flow in your arm.
During your visit, your blood pressure, height, and weight will also be recorded.
Your visit will conclude with a few short surveys about your physical activity and
The Women's Vascular Health Lab is equipped with state-of-the-art tools for the non-invasive
measurement of vascular function, including: an automated blood pressure cuff and
examination table, vascular ultrasound with a linear array probe and built-in analysis
software (GE Healthcare), an arterial tonometer (SphygmaCor, AtCor Medical), venous occlusion plethysmograph (Hokansen, Bellvue, WA). All equipment is run on dedicated computers. The lab equipment also includes
password-protected computer workstations with statistical software (STATA v 14.0,
College Station, TX).