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Improved Shear Wave Motion Detection Using Pulse-Inversion Harmonic Imaging With a Phased Array Transducer

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9 Author(s)
Pengfei Song ; Dept. of Physiol. & Biomed. Eng., Mayo Clinic Coll. of Med., Rochester, MN, USA ; Heng Zhao ; Urban, M.W. ; Manduca, A.
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Ultrasound tissue harmonic imaging is widely used to improve ultrasound B-mode imaging quality thanks to its effectiveness in suppressing imaging artifacts associated with ultrasound reverberation, phase aberration, and clutter noise. In ultrasound shear wave elastography (SWE), because the shear wave motion signal is extracted from the ultrasound signal, these noise sources can significantly deteriorate the shear wave motion tracking process and consequently result in noisy and biased shear wave motion detection. This situation is exacerbated in in vivo SWE applications such as heart, liver, and kidney. This paper, therefore, investigated the possibility of implementing harmonic imaging, specifically pulse-inversion harmonic imaging, in shear wave tracking, with the hypothesis that harmonic imaging can improve shear wave motion detection based on the same principles that apply to general harmonic B-mode imaging. We first designed an experiment with a gelatin phantom covered by an excised piece of pork belly and show that harmonic imaging can significantly improve shear wave motion detection by producing less underestimated shear wave motion and more consistent shear wave speed measurements than fundamental imaging. Then, a transthoracic heart experiment on a freshly sacrificed pig showed that harmonic imaging could robustly track the shear wave motion and give consistent shear wave speed measurements of the left ventricular myocardium while fundamental imaging could not. Finally, an in vivo transthoracic study of seven healthy volunteers showed that the proposed harmonic imaging tracking sequence could provide consistent estimates of the left ventricular myocardium stiffness in end-diastole with a general success rate of 80% and a success rate of 93.3% when excluding the subject with Body Mass Index higher than 25. These promising results indicate that pulse-inversion harmonic imaging can significantly improve shear wave motion tracking and thus potentially facili- ate more robust assessment of tissue elasticity by SWE.

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Medical Imaging, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:32 ,  Issue: 12 )