University of Wisconsin
School of Medicine and Public Health

Atherosclerosis Imaging Research Program

The University of Wisconsin Atherosclerosis Imaging Research Program (UW AIRP) serves as a core ultrasound reading and training laboratory for clinical and epidemiological research studies that use ultrasound-based research tools as surrogates for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease risk:

  • carotid artery intima-media thickness (carotid IMT or CIMT) and grayscale analysis
  • carotid artery plaque detection and grayscale analysis
  • brachial artery reactivity testing (BART)
  • arterial stiffness (by tonometry and/or ultrasound)
  • assessment of cardiac structure, function, and coronary blood flow (by echocardiography)

We also perform electrocardiography-based research including 12-lead ECGs, treadmill stress testing, Holter monitoring, and assessment of heart rate variability.

The UW AIRP is proud to serve as the Carotid Ultrasound Reading Center for the NHLBI Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution (MESA Air), which is funded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. We also are the BART Reading Center for the NHLBI HIV-CVD Collaborative.

Carotid IMT and BART training includes didactic and hands-on scanning and reading sessions for physicians and sonographers. Topics covered during training sessions include image acquisition, image interpretation, instrumentation, and quality assurance. The UW AIRP also can assist with the development of scanning protocols, budgeting, and sample size calculations for research programs. We try to customize training sessions to meet the needs of the participants.