10.11.2020 change 10.11.2020

Polish-Norwegian team to develop method for diagnosing arterial stiffness

Source: press kit, credit: Professor Z. Ostrowski Source: press kit, credit: Professor Z. Ostrowski

Developing a diagnostic procedure that will assess local arterial stiffness without invasive procedures burdening the patient will be the task of a team of engineers and doctors from Poland and Norway.

Arterial stiffness increases with age as a result of changing vascular structure and certain diseases. The reduced elasticity of the vessels causes the pressure wave caused by the contraction of the heart muscle to bounce off the artery walls and increase the maximum pressure generated in the heart. As a result, blood pressure (especially diastolic pressure) increases with age, which can cause many serious diseases. Haemorrhagic stroke, dissection of arteries (aneurysms) are only some of them.

Now, a project called ENTHRAL will record deformation of arteries under the influence of pressure pulsations caused by the heart's work. Using advanced methods of modelling blood flow in flexible vessels, the material parameters of the arteries and their stiffness can be determined.

The research program includes the construction of a phantom, i.e. a properly measured laboratory station corresponding to an artery fragment. This fragment is supplied by a pump with a programmable, variable performance that mimics the heart's cycle. Measurements on this station with the use of a high-class ultrasound and ultra-fast cameras will check the accuracy and adjust the developed blood flow models. After obtaining the appropriate precision of the model, it will be used to reproduce arterial stiffness of volunteer patients.

The research project is scheduled for three years. The Silesian University of Technology is represented by employees of the Department of Thermal Technology and the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering. The project leader is Professor Ryszard Białecki and the research tasks are headed by professors of the Silesian University of Technology: Ziemowit Ostrowski and Wojciech Adamczyk, Professor Leif Rune Hellevik and Dr. Jacob Sturdy from NTNU and Dr. Adam Golda from the Municipal Hospital No. 4 in Gliwice. Two Silesian research institutions declared their interest in the results of the project: the Institute of Medical Technology and Equipment and the Research and Development Centre of American Heart of Poland.

The authors of the project will talk about the main research activities, expected difficulties and ways to overcome them during an open seminar on November 10 at 12 PM. Due to epidemic, it will be carried out remotely. Anyone interested can watch the seminar at this address.

With a budget exceeding PLN 6 million, the project is financed under the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021. Engineers from the Silesian University of Technology, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim and doctors from the Municipal Hospital No. 4 in Gliwice cooperate in the project, according to the project's co-authors' press release.

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