Determining vascular age

Siemens introduces new ultrasound applications to evaluate the risk of heart disease

New to the Siemens Medical Solutions portfolio of ultrasound applications is the syngo Arterial Health Package (AHP), which calculates cardiovascular risks by measuring carotid intima media thickness and determining the relative `vascular age´ of the vessel. Using this, along with, for example, cholesterol values and blood pressure, a physician can better assess a patient's myocardial or stroke-related risk and establish an individual prevention and treatment plan, Siemens points out. The system was introduced for the first time in Europe, this September at the Congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

The ultrasound image is analysed with software. The coloured area shows the...
The ultrasound image is analysed with software. The coloured area shows the thickness of the carotid artery wall

Siemens reports: The syngo Arterial Health Package (AHP) determines vascular age, i.e. the advance of atherosclerotic burden and displays it to the patient. Knowing vascular age helps a physician to more accurately determine a patient’s risk of developing coronary heart disease, in rendering a prognosis and in developing a prevention and therapy plan.
The new ultrasound application provides a measurement of the intima media thickness of the carotid – the innermost layer of the carotid vessel wall. An abnormal widening of the intima media is considered evidence of threatening or already existing arteriosclerosis. In addition, syngo AHP takes into account the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) database to determine the risk index from the Framingham Heart Study* using the relative vascular age rather than chronological age of a patient. To date, cardiologists use the Framingham risk factors for cardiovascular risk determination. However, the combination of vascular age, Framingham factors and ARIC data allows a more accurate determination of the risk of heart attack or stroke for up to 60% of patients.
Syngo AHP is available on the ultrasound systems ACUSON Sequoia C512, Antares, X500, X300 and CV 70 from Siemens. Recently, it became also available offline on the syngo Ultrasound workplace.
Discussing the advantages of the system, Klaus Hambuechen, head of the Ultrasound division of Siemens Medical Solutions, added that users in the USA have reported that the tool proved highly advantageous in convincing patients to change their lifestyle.
Siemens completes its portfolio of innovate tools for cardiovascular risk determination with syngo AHP. Additional applications shown at the ESC 2007 included: syngo Auto Ejection Fraction and syngo Velocity Vector Imaging (VVI). Used in combination, these ultrasound applications provide automated workflows in, for example, heart resynchronisation therapy and coronary artery disease evaluation.

Background information about vascular age
The vascular age is closely related to ‘biological age’ affected by the status of the vessel system. Satisfactory blood circulation supplies the organs with sufficient oxygen and nutrients, ensuring proper performance. Depending on the risk profile of a human being, the thickness of the vessel wall will be increased. The vessel age can be determined by the measurement the intima media thickness of the carotid with ultrasound. Modern ultrasound methods are able to visualise the age and determine the risk of cardiovascular disease, Siemens explains.

* The Framingham Heart Study
Carried out by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, in Bethesda, Maryland, in co-operation with Boston University, the study examines at regular intervals the risk factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease.


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