The UW AIRP is a core laboratory for clinical and epidemiological research studies that use the following ultrasound, tonometry, and electrocardiographic research techniques, ECG, and tonometry techniques:
- Carotid artery intima-media thickness and grayscale analysis
- Carotid artery plaque detection, quantification, and grayscale analysis
- Brachial artery reactivity testing and grayscale analysis
- Arterial stiffness (by tonometry and ultrasound)
- Assessment of cardiac structure, function, and coronary blood flow (by echocardiography)
- Exercise stress testing (echocardiography, electrocardiography, metabolic)
- 12-lead electrocardiography
- Holter monitoring
- Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring
- Heart rate variability
- Coronary artery calcium scoring (using cardiac computed tomography)
Core lab services include sonographer and reader training, image interpretation and quantification, data analysis, quality assurance, protocol design, and consultation.
The UW AIRP performs, acquires, and stores all ultrasound data in digital (DICOM) formats. 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.
All UW AIRP staff are salaried employees with very low rates of turnover. No students or trainees are used for reading studies. Our readers are highly experienced, registered ultrasonographers (RVT, RDCS, and/or RDMS). All staff are experienced at performing and teaching a wide range of scanning and measuring protocols and can perform accurate measurements.
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, sonography machine calibration, and sonogram reading data across multiple studies and sites.