Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Biomedical Engineering


College of Engineering


Michael Whitt

Advisor Department

Biomedical Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally and is responsible for taking 17.9 million lives per year. Despite the use of clinical treatments and detection methods, there remains a large population of individuals that suffer from CVD whose symptoms are left undetected and untreated prior to a life-threatening cardiac event. This highlights a need for an early detection method that can prevent the manifestation and worsening of the disease as well as address limitations of current early detection methods. An area of interest for early detection of CVD is subclinical atherosclerosis, which is the long, early, asymptomatic stage of plaque formation. Subclinical atherosclerosis has been namely associated with endothelial dysfunction and is the result of the pathological state of the endothelium due to its impact on vascular homeostasis, thrombosis, and vascular tone. Endothelial dysfunction is a result of several factors contributing to and promoting inflammation and results in changes in biological pathways that can alter the surface of the endothelium. This surface modification or added roughness changes the flow profile from laminar to turbulent flow due to the decreased shear stress on the vascular wall. Current detection methods such as carotid intima media thickness (CIMT) and flow-mediated dilation (FMD) targeted at identifying the early stages of atherosclerosis present limitations such as identifying late-stage effects of plaque formation and subjective readings highlight the need for a different approach to early detection. This experimental study aims to present a possible method of detecting the morphological changes of the endothelium due to inflammation through acoustic analysis of flow. Three silicone artery phantom groups were created with different degrees of inner diameter surface roughness to explore the relationship between relative roughness and sound associated with fluid flow. The results of this study are power spectral density graphs (PSD) which show frequency peaks associated with each of the phantoms at a theoretical laminar and turbulent Reynolds number. The PSD graphs show that there is a difference in frequency response between a smooth and rough artery phantom at the same flow rate providing preliminary support that sound analysis of fluid flow could provide information regarding early-stage cardiovascular disease.