The UW AIRP serves as a core laboratory for clinical and epidemiological research studies that use the following ultrasound, ECG, and tonometry techniques:
- Carotid intima-media thickness (carotid IMT or CIMT)
- Carotid plaque assessment (detection and acoustic characterization)
- Brachial artery reactivity testing (BART)
- Arterial stiffness assessment (by ultrasound or tonometry)
- Transthoracic echocardiography (including coronary artery blood flow)
- Exercise stress echocardiography
- 12-lead electrocardiography
- Treadmill stress testing
- Metabolic stress testing
- Holter monitoring
- Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring
Core lab services include sonographer and reader training, image interpretation and quantitation, data analysis, quality assurance, protocol design, and consultation.
The UW AIRP performs, acquires, and stores all ultrasound data in digital (DICOM) formats without videotape. Local studies are performed using high-end ultrasound systems with high-resolution ultrasound transducers. We can read outside images that have been stored in almost any digital format. Although we are an all-digital lab, the UW AIRP also can digitize studies originally stored on super-VHS videotape. We have a site network with collaborating centers available for use in the development of clinical trials.
Appropriate quality assurance parameters are built into every protocol and include phantom scanning, determination of test-retest reproducibility, and determination of intra- and inter-observer variability. We are one of the few core labs in the world that have subjected its measurements to external validation by an outside core lab. The UW AIRP data for these accuracy and reproducibility parameters can be provided upon request and are detailed in our publications.
All UW AIRP staff are salaried employees with very low rates of turn-over. No students or trainees are used for reading studies. Our readers are highly experienced and most are registered ultrasonographers (RVT, RDCS, and/or RDMS). All staff are experienced and are familiar with a performing and teaching a wide range of scanning and measuring protocols and can perform accurate measurements of all carotid segments.
All UW AIRP activities occur in a custom web-based application designed by the UW Department of Medicine Information Technology development team. This application is an extended database that provides a secure, centrally located, and globally accessible repository for information regarding the UW AIRP, including maintaining sonographer training and certification information (over read forms), sonography machine calibration (phantom forms), and sonogram reading data (read forms) across multiple studies and sites.