Skip to Main Content
This paper describes a task-based, information-theoretic approach to the assessment of image quality in diagnostic sonography. We expand the Kullback-Leibler divergence metric J, which quantifies the diagnostic information contained within recorded radio-frequency echo signals, into a spatial-frequency integral comprised of two spectral components: one describes patient features for low-contrast diagnostic tasks and the other describes instrumentation properties. The latter quantity is the acquisition information spectrum (AIS), which measures the density of object information that an imaging system is able to transfer to the echo data at each spatial frequency. AIS is derived based on unique properties of acoustic scattering in tissues that generate object contrast. Predictions made by the J integral expression were validated through Monte Carlo studies using echo-signal data from simulated lesions. Our analysis predicts the diagnostic performance of any sonographic system at specific diagnostic tasks based on engineering properties of the instrument that constitute image quality.