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Arnold School of Public Health

Lab Procedures and Techniques

Below are images and descriptions of the tests you would have done if you came in for a study visit.

Your visit will usually begin with providing a blood sample via venipuncture. The blood samples will be analyzed using an ELISA assay in order to measure two cardiovascular biomarkers, CRP and s-eng. CRP is an inflammatory biomarker and s-eng is an anti-angiogenesis, inhibits new blood vessel formation, biomarker.

A Sphygmacor, pencil like device, is laid on top of the skin to measure your pulse wave in the radial artery in your wrist

Applanation Tonometry

One of the tests during your visit will use a Sphygmacor device. This pencil-like device is laid on top of the skin to measure your pulse wave in the radial artery in your wrist. It is also used to measure your pulse wave velocity in your carotid and femoral artery. These measurements are then used to determine your arterial stiffness.

An ultrasound used on a woman to image her carotid artery.


An ultrasound will be used to image your carotid artery. This picture is used to measure the intima-media thickness (a measure of plaque buildup) in your carotid artery as well as your pulse wave velocity in your carotid artery.

Woman getting her blood pressure taken

Strain Gauge Plethysmography

The final test in your visit will be measuring your forearm’s reactive hyperemia, that is, how reactive your blood vessels are to changes in blood flow. Three blood pressure cuffs will be placed on your right arm, two on your upper arm and one on your wrist. The blood pressure cuffs will be inflated for 5 minutes, and when released the strain gauge will measure the blood flow in your arm.

During your visit, your blood pressure, height, and weight will also be recorded. Your visit will conclude with a few short surveys about your physical activity and diet.

The Women's Vascular Health Lab is equipped with state-of-the-art tools for the non-invasive measurement of vascular function, including: an automated blood pressure cuff and examination table, vascular ultrasound with a linear array probe and built-in analysis software (GE Healthcare), an arterial tonometer (SphygmaCorAtCor Medical), venous occlusion plethysmograph (HokansenBellvue, WA). All equipment is run on dedicated computers.  The lab equipment also includes password-protected computer workstations with statistical software (STATA v 14.0, College Station, TX). 

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