Do our blood vessels age as fast as we do?
Do our blood vessels age faster or slower than we do? This was the focus of a study that, thanks to a non-invasive method, evaluated the health of the peripheral vasculature by applying an algorithm to blood flow.
The study, published in the journal Transactions of Biomedical Engineering, was carried out by a team at the Department of Information Engineering of the University of Florence led by Leonardo Bocchi, Professor of Electronic and Computer Bioengineering, and including Michele Sorelli and Antonia Perrella.
Thanks to a Laser Doppler flowmeter aimed at the big toe, the researchers measured the velocity produced by the pulse in the capillary blood vessels of the skin. Through an algorithm, the different types of blood flow were associated with two profiles: “young” and “old”.
The method will allow the early assessment of vascular ageing, which is associated with progressive arterial stiffening and alterations in the vessel walls, a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease, also associated with other clinical conditions.
“By placing the flowmeter on the tip of the toe for about 30 seconds”, explained Bocchi, “we obtain a wave that can take a smoother form, which we have identified as ‘young’, or is characterized by sharper rebounds, ‘old’, which can be associated with vascular stiffening”.