Transthoracic Doppler echocardiography to noninvasively assess coronary vasoconstrictor and dilator responses in humans

Afsana Momen, Mark Kozak, Urs A. Leuenberger, Steven Ettinger, Cheryl Blaha, Vernon Mascarenhas, Vasili Lendel, Michael D. Herr, Lawrence I. Sinoway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Human studies of coronary circulation are limited because of methodological issues. Recently, a noninvasive transthoracic duplex ultrasound (TTD) technique has emerged as an important tool to measure coronary blood flow velocity (CBV) in conscious humans. We employed two protocols to determine whether noninvasive "native" coronary artery velocity responses to constrictor or dilator stimuli assessed by TTD provide reliable data. In the first protocol, coronary vascular resistance (CVR = diastolic blood pressure/CBV) responses to static handgrip were examined in the left internal mammary artery (LIMA) and native left anterior descending artery (LAD) into which the graft was inserted (patient age 63 ± 3 years). Our prior report documented increased CVR in the LIMA graft during static handgrip (Momen et al., J Appl Physiol 102: 735-739, 2007). We hypothesized that the magnitude of increases in CVR during handgrip would be similar in the LIMA graft and LAD in the same individual. Percent increases in CVR were similar in the LIMA and distal native LAD (27 ± 4% vs. 28 ± 6%). In the second protocol, we studied six patients (age 61±3 years) who underwent cardiac catheterization of the LAD. We compared coronary vasodilator responses to intravenous adenosine infusion (0.14 mg·kg -1·min-1) obtained by intracoronary Doppler guidewire technique and TTD on separate studies. The relative increases in CBV with adenosine obtained by intracoronary Doppler guidewire and TTD were similar (62 ± 10% vs. 65 ± 12%). Noninvasive TTD provides reliable human coronary circulatory constrictor and dilator data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H524-H529
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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