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The longitudinal movement of blood vessel walls has so far gained little or no attention, as it has been presumed that these movements are of a negligible magnitude. However, modern high-resolution ultrasound scanners can demonstrate that the inner layers of the arterial wall exhibit considerable movements in the longitudinal direction. This paper evaluates a new, noninvasive, echo-tracking technique, which simultaneously can track both the radial and the longitudinal movements of the arterial wall with high resolution in vivo. Initially, the method is evaluated in vitro using a specially designed ultrasound phantom, which is attached to and moved by an X-Y system, the movement of which was compared with two high-resolution triangulation lasers. The results show an inaccuracy of 2.5% full scale deflection (fsd), reproducibility of 12 /spl mu/m and a resolution of 5 /spl mu/m, which should be more than sufficient for in vivo studies. The ability of the method is also demonstrated in a limited in vivo study in which a preselected part of the inner vessel wall of the right common carotid artery of a healthy volunteer is tracked in two dimensions over many cardiac cycles. The results show well reproducible x-y movement loops in which the recorded radial and longitudinal movements both are of the magnitude millimetre.