Lund University in Sweden has discovered a new method of using ultrasound to determine whether the plaque levels in blood vessels are harmful or not. Harmful plaque levels are what leads to strokes and heart attacks. Now, with the new method, this could prevent unnecessary surgeries and is a better method of checking cardiovascular health. 

Magnus Cinthio, a professor of biomedical engineering, said: "Ultrasound enables you to screen a larger population, and that, in turn, means that life-threatening cardiovascular diseases can be detected at an earlier stage."

Currently, vascular surgeries are performed to determine what is causing a blockage of blood flow due to plaques. However, if the plaque is unharmful a costly surgery has already been performed and that is not sustainable. Now, with this new technology, the harmfulness of a cell can be determined without having to undergo surgery. 

"We have shown that there is a strong correlation between changes in the centre frequency and the size of the reflecting particles. The more harmful substances, the greater the so-called centre frequency shifts," says Tobias Erlov, a researcher at the Department of Biomedical Engineering. 

Talking about the inexpensive nature of the ultrasound measurements, Erlov said, "Another advantage is that the method is inexpensive and completely harmless to patients." 

Researching how the ultrasound machine can measure plaque levels in the carotid artery will assist in determining what cardiovascular problems a person has. The researchers are confident it will also assist with people who are at risk of diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases. They also claim that the ultrasound method will be accurate as well. 

Source: EurekaAlert