Penn CVI Vascular Research


The Penn Vascular Research Center (PVRC) facility provides non-invasive peripheral vascular studies designed for research purposes performed on an outpatient basis.  Our laboratory is equipped with a state of the art duplex ultrasound machine, electronic and handheld Doppler machines used to measure the ankle-brachial index (ABI), and a treadmill to assess maximum tolerable walking distance in patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Our qualified staff includes a registered vascular technician and a certified clinical research coordinator.

Some studies performed at the PVRC include:

Carotid Intimal-Medial Thickness (IMT) - An ultrasound evaluation of the thickness of the intimal and medial layers of the carotid artery. A thick carotid IMT correlates with increased risk for a cardiovascular event. Pharmaceutical trials with drugs have shown reduction in carotid IMT.

Brachial Artery Reactivity (BART) - An ultrasound evaluation of the brachial artery diameter in response to sheer stress after five minutes of arterial occlusion with blood pressure cuff. The amount of flow mediated vasodilatation correlates with nitric oxide and prostacyclin availability and provides for a measure of endothelial function.

Coronary Flow Reserve (CFR) - An ultrasound evaluation of the distal left anterior descending coronary artery before and after administration of intravenous adenosine. The amount of vasodilatation in response to adenosine correlates with the amount of blood flow reserve and reduction of this reserved indicates increase risk for cardiovascular events.

Near Infrared Spectroscopy - Pioneered at Penn in Dr. Britton Chance’s laboratory, this test involves noninvasive measurement of blood oxygenation and flow in the skeletal muscle. Patients with peripheral arterial disease have abnormal oxygenation recovery and blood flow after exercise on NIR evaluation.

Mechanical Treadmill - Used in the vascular laboratory in conjunction with NIRS studies and to assess the exercise capacity of patients enrolled in various vascular studies.

Pulse Wave Velocity - A measure of the velocity of the blood flow wave and increase values correlate with vascular stiffness and increased cardiovascular events.

Augmentation Index - Obtained using a device placed over the radial artery and calculated as the ratio augmentation pressure to the total pulse pressure. This is also a measure of vascular health.

Lower Extremity Arterial Ultrasound - A comprehensive ultrasound evaluation of the lower extremity arterial system to evaluate for lesion severity and blood flow.

In addition, a data-analyst is available to analyze vascular studies conducted at the PVRC or at other vascular laboratories. Our laboratory utilizes FDA-approved, automated, edge-detecting, imaging software that allows for the measurement of a variety of vessel parameters.

For more information on services provided by the PVRC, please contact Dr. Emile Mohler, III at 215-662-3275.