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Ultrasound contrast plane wave imaging

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3 Author(s)
Olivier Couture ; CNRS, Institut Langevin, Paris, France ; Mathias Fink ; Mickael Tanter

Background: Monitoring the accumulation of microbubbles within tissue vasculature with ultrasound allows both molecular and perfusion imaging. Unfortunately, conventional imaging with focused pulses can destroy a large fraction of the microbubbles it is trying to follow. Using coherent synthetic summation, ultrafast plane wave imaging could attain similar image quality, while reducing the peak acoustic pressure and bubble disruption. Method: In these experiments, microbubbles were flowed in a wall-less vessel phantom. Images were obtained on a programmable clinical scanner with a set of line-per-line focused pulses for conventional contrast imaging and with compounded plane wave transmission adapted for nonlinear imaging. Imaging was performed between 14 and 650 kPa peak negative pressure at 7.5 MHz. The disruption of the microbubbles was evaluated by comparing the microbubble intensity before and after acquisition of a set of 100 images at various pressures. Results: The acoustic intensity required to disrupt 50% of the microbubbles was 24 times higher with plane-wave imaging compared with conventional focused pulses. Although both imaging approaches yield similar resolution, at the same disruption level, plane-wave imaging showed better contrast. In particular, at similar disruption ratio (50% after 100 images), contrast-pulse sequencing (CPS) performed with plane waves displayed an improvement of 11 dB compared with conventional nonlinear imaging. Conclusion: In each resolution cell of the image, plane-wave imaging spread the spatial peak acoustic intensity over more pulses, reducing the peak pressure and, hence, preserving the microbubbles. This method could contribute to molecular imaging by allowing the continuous monitoring of the accumulation of microbubbles with improved contrast.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control  (Volume:59 ,  Issue: 12 )