Vascular flow and perfusion imaging with ultrasound contrast agents
Averkiou, Michalakis A.
Lohmaier, S. FAU
Powers, J. E.
SourceUltrasound in medicine & biology JID - 0410553
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Current techniques for imaging ultrasound (US) contrast agents (UCA) make no distinction between low-velocity microbubbles in the microcirculation and higher-velocity microbubbles in the larger vasculature. A combination of radiofrequency (RF) and Doppler filtering on a low mechanical index (MI) pulse inversion acquisition is presented that differentiates low-velocity microbubbles (on the order of mm/s) associated with perfusion, from the higher-velocity microbubbles (on the order of cm/s) in larger vessels. In vitro experiments demonstrate the ability to separate vascular flow using both harmonic and fundamental Doppler signals. Fundamental and harmonic Doppler signals from microbubbles using a low-MI pulse-inversion acquisition are compared with conventional color Doppler signals in vivo. Due to the lower transmit amplitude and enhanced backscatter from microbubbles, the in vivo signal to clutter ratios for both the fundamental (-11 dB) and harmonic (-4 dB) vascular flow signals were greater than with conventional power Doppler (-51 dB) without contrast agent. The processing investigated here, in parallel with conventional pulse-inversion processing, enables the simultaneous display of both perfusion and vascular flow. In vivo results demonstrating the feasibility and potential utility of the real-time display of both perfusion and vascular flow using US contrast agents are presented and discussed. FAU - Bruce, Matthew