91 research outputs found

    Ultrasound Imaging with Microbubbles

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    Flow velocity mapping using contrast enhanced high-frame-rate plane wave ultrasound and image tracking: methods and initial in vitro and in vivo evaluation

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    Ultrasound imaging is the most widely used method for visualising and quantifying blood flow in medical practice, but existing techniques have various limitations in terms of imaging sensitivity, field of view, flow angle dependence, and imaging depth. In this study, we developed an ultrasound imaging velocimetry approach capable of visualising and quantifying dynamic flow, by combining high-frame-rate plane wave ultrasound imaging, microbubble contrast agents, pulse inversion contrast imaging and speckle image tracking algorithms. The system was initially evaluated in vitro on both straight and carotid-mimicking vessels with steady and pulsatile flows and in vivo in the rabbit aorta. Colour and spectral Doppler measurements were also made. Initial flow mapping results were compared with theoretical prediction and reference Doppler measurements and indicate the potential of the new system as a highly sensitive, accurate, angle-independent and full field-of-view velocity mapping tool capable of tracking and quantifying fast and dynamic flows

    High frame rate contrast enhanced echocardiography: microbubbles stability and contrast evaluation

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    Contrast Echocardiography (CE) with microbubble contrast agents have significantly advanced our capability in assessing cardiac function, including myocardium perfusion imaging and quantification. However in conventional CE techniques with line by line scanning, the frame rate is limited to tens of frames per second and image quality is low. Recent works in high frame-rate (HFR) ultrasound have shown significant improvement of the frame rate. The aim of this work is to investigate the MBs stability and the contrast improvement using HFR CE compared to CE transmission at an echocardiography relevant frequency for different mechanical indices (MIs). Our results show that the contrast and bubble destruction of HFR CE and standard CEUS varies differently as a function of space and MIs. At low MIs, HFR CE shows a similar behavior as focused CE with little MB destruction, and generates better CTR (up to 3 folds). As MI increases, the MB destruction is more significant for HFR CE with a reduction of the CTR

    3-D In Vitro Acoustic Super-Resolution and Super-Resolved Velocity Mapping Using Microbubbles

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    Standard clinical ultrasound (US) imaging frequencies are unable to resolve microvascular structures due to the fundamental diffraction limit of US waves. Recent demonstrations of 2D super-resolution both in vitro and in vivo have demonstrated that fine vascular structures can be visualized using acoustic single bubble localization. Visualization of more complex and disordered 3D vasculature, such as that of a tumor, requires an acquisition strategy which can additionally localize bubbles in the elevational plane with high precision in order to generate super-resolution in all three dimensions. Furthermore, a particular challenge lies in the need to provide this level of visualization with minimal acquisition time. In this work, we develop a fast, coherent US imaging tool for microbubble localization in 3D using a pair of US transducers positioned at 90°. This allowed detection of point scatterer signals in 3 dimensions with average precisions equal to 1.9 µm in axial and elevational planes, and 11 µm in the lateral plane, compared to the diffraction limited point spread function full widths at half maximum of 488 µm, 1188 µm and 953 µm of the original imaging system with a single transducer. Visualization and velocity mapping of 3D in vitro structures was demonstrated far beyond the diffraction limit. The capability to measure the complete flow pattern of blood vessels associated with disease at depth would ultimately enable analysis of in vivo microvascular morphology, blood flow dynamics and occlusions resulting from disease states

    Two Stage Sub-Wavelength Motion Correction in Human Microvasculature for CEUS Imaging

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    The structure of microvasculature cannot be resolved using clinical B-mode or contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) imaging due to the fundamental diffraction limit at clinical ultrasound frequencies. It is possible to overcome this resolution limitation by localizing individual microbubbles through multiple frames and forming a super-resolved image. However, ultrasound super-resolution creates its unique problems since the structures to be imaged are on the order of 10s of μm. Tissue movement much larger than 10 μm is common in clinical imaging, which can significantly reduce the accuracy of super-resolution images created from microbubble locations gathered through hundreds of frames. This study investigated an existing motion estimation algorithm from magnetic resonance imaging for ultrasound super-resolution imaging. Its correction accuracy is evaluated using simulations with increasing complexity of motion. Feasibility of the method for ultrasound super-resolution in vivo is demonstrated on clinical ultrasound images. For a chosen microvessel, the super-resolution image without motion correction achieved a sub-wavelength resolution; however after the application of proposed two-stage motion correction method the size of the vessel was reduced to half

    Theoretical and experimental characterisation of magnetic microbubbles.

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    In addition to improving image contrast, microbubbles have shown great potential in molecular imaging and drug/gene delivery. Previous work by the authors showed that considerable improvements in gene transfection efficiency were obtained using microbubbles loaded with magnetic nanoparticles under simultaneous exposure to ultrasound and magnetic fields. The aim of this study was to characterise the effect of nanoparticles on the dynamic and acoustic response of the microbubbles. High-speed video microscopy indicated that the amplitude of oscillation was very similar for magnetic and nonmagnetic microbubbles of the same size for the same ultrasound exposure (0.5 MHz, 100 kPa, 12-cycle pulse) and that this was minimally affected by an imposed magnetic field. The linear scattering to attenuation ratio (STAR) was also similar for suspensions of both bubble types although the nonlinear STAR was ~50% lower for the magnetic microbubbles. Both the video and acoustic data were supported by the results from theoretical modelling

    Effects of motion on high frame rate contrast enhanced echocardiography and its correction

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    Contrast echocardiography (CE) ultrasound with microbubble contrast agents have significantly advanced our capability in assessing cardiac function, including myocardium perfusion imaging and quantification. However in conventional CE techniques with line by line scanning, the frame rate is limited to tens of frames per second and image quality is low. Recent research works in high frame-rate (HFR) ultrasound have shown significant improvement of the frame rate in non-contrast cardiac imaging. But with a higher frame rate, the coherent compounding of HFR CE images shows some artifacts due to the motion of the microbubbles. In this work we demonstrate the impact of this motion on compounded HFR CE in simulation and then apply a motion correction algorithm on in-vivo data acquired from the left ventricle (LV) chamber of a sheep. It shows that even if with the fast flow found inside the LV, the contrast is improved at least 100%
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