A system capable of tracking radiation force induced shear wave propagation in a 3D volume using ultrasound is presented. In contrast to existing systems, which use 1D array transducers, a 2D matrix array is used for tracking shear wave displacements. A separate single element transducer is used for radiation force excitation. This system allows shear wave propagation in all directions away from the push to be observed. It is shown that for a limit of 64 tracking beams, by placing the beams at the edges of the measurement region of interest (ROI) at multiple directions from the push, time-of-flight (TOF) shear wave speed (SWS) measurement uncertainty can theoretically be reduced by 40% compared to equally spacing the tracking beams within the ROI along a single plane, as is typical when using a 1D array for tracking. This was verified by simulation, and a reduction of 30% was experimentally observed on a homogeneous phantom. Analytical expressions are presented for the relationship between TOF SWS measurement uncertainty and various shear wave imaging parameters. It is shown that TOF SWS uncertainty is inversely proportional to ROI size, and inversely proportional to the square root of the number of tracking locations for a given distribution of beam locations relative to the push. TOF SWS uncertainty is shown to increase with the square of the SWS, indicating that TOF SWS measurements are intrinsically less precise for stiffer materials.
acoustic radiation force; shear wave imaging; elastography; ultrasound
Tissue elasticity is related to pathology and therefore has important medical applications. Radiation force from a focused ultrasound beam has been used to produce shear waves in tissues for shear wave speed and tissue elasticity measurements. The feasibility of shear wave speed measurement using radiation force for an unfocused ultrasound beam is demonstrated in this study with a linear and a curved array transducer. Consistent measurement of shear wave speed was achieved over a relatively long axial extent (z = 10-40 mm for the linear array, and z = 15-60 mm for the curved array) in 3 calibrated phantoms with different shear moduli. In vivo measurements on the biceps of a healthy volunteer show consistent increase of shear wave speed for the biceps under 0, 1, 2, and 3 kg loading. Advantages and limitations of unfocused push are discussed.
Elasticity; Shear wave; Ultrasound radiation force; Unfocused
Characterization of tissue elasticity (stiffness) and viscosity has important medical applications because these properties are closely related to pathological changes. Quantitative measurement is more suitable than qualitative measurement (i.e., mapping with a relative scale) of tissue viscoelasticity for diagnosis of diffuse diseases where abnormality is not confined to a local region and there is no normal background tissue to provide contrast. Shearwave dispersion ultrasound vibrometry (SDUV) uses shear wave propagation speed measured in tissue at multiple frequencies (typically in the range of hundreds of Hertz) to solve quantitatively for both tissue elasticity and viscosity. A shear wave is stimulated within the tissue by an ultrasound push beam and monitored by a separate ultrasound detect beam. The phase difference of the shear wave between 2 locations along its propagation path is used to calculate shear wave speed within the tissue. In vitro SDUV measurements along and across bovine striated muscle fibers show results of tissue elasticity and viscosity close to literature values. An intermittent pulse sequence is developed to allow one array transducer for both push and detect function. Feasibility of this pulse sequence is demonstrated by in vivo SDUV measurements in swine liver using a dual transducer prototype simulating the operation of a single array transducer.
Acoustic radiation forces associated with high intensity focused ultrasound stimulate shear wave propagation allowing shear wave speed and shear viscosity estimation of tissue structures. As wave speeds are meters per second, real time displacement tracking over an extend field-of-view using ultrasound is problematic due to very high frame rate requirements. However, two spatially separated dynamic external sources can stimulate shear wave motion leading to shear wave interference patterns. Advantages are shear waves can be imaged at lower frame rates and local interference pattern spatial properties reflect tissue’s viscoelastic properties. Here a theoretical analysis of shear wave interference patterns by means of dynamic acoustic radiation forces is detailed. Using a viscoelastic Green’s function analysis, tissue motion due to a pair of focused ultrasound beams and associated radiation forces are presented. Overall, this paper theoretically demonstrates shear wave interference patterns can be stimulated using dynamic acoustic radiation forces and tracked using conventional ultrasound imaging.
This paper introduces methods to generate crawling wave interference patterns from the displacement fields generated from radiation force pushes on a GE Logiq 9 scanner. The same transducer and system is providing both the pushing pulses to generate the shear waves and the tracking pulses to measure the displacements. Acoustic power and system limitations result in largely impulsive displacement fields. Measured displacements from pushes on either side of a region of interest (ROI) are used to calculate continuously varying interference patterns. This technique is explained along with a brief discussion of the conventional mechanical source-driven crawling waves for comparison. We demonstrate the method on three example cases: a gelatin based phantom with a cylindrical inclusion, an oil-gelatin phantom, and mouse livers. The oil-gelatin phantom and the mouse livers demonstrate not only shear speed estimation, but the frequency dependence of the shear wave speeds.
Crawling wave; Sonoelasticity; Radiation force; Crawling wave movie synthesis; Local shear speed estimation; Shear speed dispersion
Shear wave velocity measurements are used in elasticity imaging to find the shear elasticity and viscosity of tissue. A technique called shear wave dispersion ultrasound vibrometry (SDUV) has been introduced to use the dispersive nature of shear wave velocity to locally estimate the material properties of tissue. Shear waves are created using a multifrequency ultrasound radiation force, and the propagating shear waves are measured a few millimeters away from the excitation point. The shear wave velocity is measured using a repetitive pulse-echo method and Kalman filtering to find the phase of the harmonic shear wave at 2 different locations. A viscoelastic Voigt model and the shear wave velocity measurements at different frequencies are used to find the shear elasticity (μ1) and viscosity (μ2) of the tissue. The purpose of this paper is to report the accuracy of the SDUV method over a range of different values of μ1 and μ2.
A motion detection model of a vibrating scattering medium was used to analyze measurement errors of vibration phase in a scattering medium. To assess the accuracy of the SDUV method, we modeled the effects of phase errors on estimates of shear wave velocity and material properties while varying parameters such as shear stiffness and viscosity, shear wave amplitude, the distance between shear wave measurements (Δr), signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the ultrasound pulse-echo method, and the frequency range of the measurements. We performed an experiment in a section of porcine muscle to evaluate variation of the aforementioned parameters on the estimated shear wave velocity and material property measurements and to validate the error prediction model.
The model showed that errors in the shear wave velocity and material property estimates were minimized by maximizing shear wave amplitude, pulse-echo SNR, Δr, and the bandwidth used for shear wave measurements. The experimental model showed optimum performance could be obtained for Δr = 3-6 mm, SNR ≥35 dB, with a frequency range of 100 to 600 Hz, and with a shear wave amplitude on the order of a few microns down to 0.5 μm. The model provides a basis to explore different parameters related to implementation of the SDUV method. The experiment confirmed conclusions made by the model, and the results can be used for optimization of SDUV.
Spatially modulated ultrasound radiation force (SMURF) imaging is an elastographic technique that involves generating a radiation force beam with a lateral intensity variation of a defined spatial frequency. This results in a shear wave of known wavelength. By using the displacements induced by the shear wave and standard Doppler or speckle-tracking methods, the shear wave frequency, and thus material shear modulus, is estimated. In addition to generating a pushing beam pattern with a specified lateral intensity variation, it is generally desirable to induce larger displacements so that the displacement data signal-to-noise ratio is higher. We provide an analysis of two beam forming methods for generating SMURF in an elastic material: the focal Fraunhofer and intersecting plane wave methods. Both techniques generate beams with a defined spatial frequency. However, as a result of the trade-offs associated with each technique, the peak acoustic intensity outputs in the region of interest differs for the same combinations of parameters (e.g., the focal depth, the width of the area of interest, and ultrasonic attenuation coefficient). Assuming limited transducer drive voltage, we provide a decision plot to determine which of the two techniques yields the greater pushing force for a specific configuration.
The speed at which shear waves propagate in tissue can be used to quantify the shear modulus of the tissue. As many groups have shown, shear waves can be generated within tissues using focused, impulsive, acoustic radiation force excitations, and the resulting displacement response can be ultrasonically tracked through time. The goals of the work herein are two-fold: first, to develop and validate an algorithm to quantify shear wave speed from radiation force-induced, ultrasonically-detected displacement data that is robust in the presence of poor displacement signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and second, to apply this algorithm to in vivo datasets acquired in human volunteers in order to demonstrate the clinical feasibility of using this method to quantify the shear modulus of liver tissue in longitudinal studies. The ultimate clinical application of this work is non-invasive quantification of liver stiffness in the setting of fibrosis and steatosis.
In the proposed algorithm, time to peak (TTP) displacement data in response to impulsive acoustic radiation force outside the region of excitation (ROE) are used to characterize the shear wave speed of a material, which is used to reconstruct the material’s shear modulus. The algorithm is developed and validated using finite element method (FEM) simulations. Using this algorithm on simulated displacement fields, reconstructions for materials with shear moduli (μ) ranging from 1.3–5 kPa are accurate to within 0.3 kPa, while stiffer shear moduli ranging from 10–16 kPa are accurate to within 1.0 kPa. Ultrasonically tracking the displacement data, which introduces jitter in the displacement estimates, does not impede the use of this algorithm to reconstruct accurate shear moduli.
Using in vivo data acquired intercostally in 20 volunteers with body mass indices (BMI) ranging from normal to obese, liver shear moduli have been reconstructed between 0.9 and 3.0 kPa, with an average precision of ±0.4 kPa. These reconstructed liver moduli are consistent with those reported in the literature (μ = 0.75–2.5 kPa) with a similar precision (±0.3 kPa). Repeated intercostal liver shear modulus reconstructions were performed on 9 different days in 2 volunteers over a 105 day period, yielding an average shear modulus of 1.9 ± 0.50 kPa (1.3–2.5 kPa) in the first volunteer, and 1.8 ± 0.4 kPa (1.1–3.0 kPa) in the second volunteer. The simulation and in vivo data to date demonstrate that this method is capable of generating accurate and repeatable liver stiffness measurements and appears promising as a clinical tool for quantifying liver stiffness.
Ultrasound; Ultrasonic Imaging; Shear Wave; Elastography; Liver Fibrosis; Radiation Force; ARFI
Tissue mechanical properties such as elasticity are linked to tissue pathology state. Several groups have proposed shear wave propagation speed to quantify tissue mechanical properties. It is well known that biological tissues are viscoelastic materials; therefore velocity dispersion resulting from material viscoelasticity is expected. A method called Shearwave Dispersion Ultrasound Vibrometry (SDUV) can be used to quantify tissue viscoelasticity by measuring dispersion of shear wave propagation speed. However, there is not a gold standard method for validation. In this study we present an independent validation method of shear elastic modulus estimation by SDUV in 3 gelatin phantoms of differing stiffness. In addition, the indentation measurements are compared to estimates of elasticity derived from shear wave group velocities. The shear elastic moduli from indentation were 1.16, 3.40 and 5.6 kPa for a 7, 10 and 15% gelatin phantom respectively. SDUV measurements were 1.61, 3.57 and 5.37 kPa for the gelatin phantoms respectively. Shear elastic moduli derived from shear wave group velocities were 1.78, 5.2 and 7.18 kPa for the gelatin phantoms respectively. The shear elastic modulus estimated from the SDUV, matched the elastic modulus measured by indentation. On the other hand, shear elastic modulus estimated by group velocity did not agree with indentation test estimations. These results suggest that shear elastic modulus estimation by group velocity will be bias when the medium being investigated is dispersive. Therefore a rheological model should be used in order to estimate mechanical properties of viscoelastic materials.
Indentation; SDUV; elasticity
A 2D matrix ultrasound array is used to monitor acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) induced shear wave propagation in 3D in excised canine muscle. From a single acquisition, both the shear wave phase and group velocity can be calculated to estimate the shear wave speed (SWS) along and across the fibers, as well as the fiber orientation in 3D. The true fiber orientation found using the 3D Radon Transform on B-mode volumes of the muscle was used to verify the fiber direction estimated from shear wave data. For the simplified imaging case when the ARFI push can be oriented perpendicular to the fibers, the error in estimating the fiber orientation using phase and group velocity measurements was 3.5 ±2.6° and 3.4 ±1.4° (mean ± standard deviation), respectively, over six acquisitions in different muscle samples. For the more general case when the push is oblique to the fibers, the angle between the push and the fibers is found using the dominant orientation of the shear wave displacement magnitude. In 30 acquisitions on six different muscle samples with oblique push angles up to 40°, the error in the estimated fiber orientation using phase and group velocity measurements was 5.4±2.9° and 5.3±3.2°, respectively, after estimating and accounting for the additional unknown push angle. Either the phase or group velocity measurements can be used to estimate fiber orientation and SWS along and across the fibers. Although it is possible to perform these measurements when the push is not perpendicular to the fibers, highly oblique push angles induce lower shear wave amplitudes which can cause inaccurate SWS measurements.
transverse isotropy; acoustic radiation force; shear wave imaging; elastography; ultrasound
In this work, we explored the potential of measuring shear wave propagation using optical coherence elastography (OCE) based on a swept-source optical coherence tomography (OCT) system. Shear waves were generated using a 20 MHz piezoelectric transducer (circular element 8.5 mm diameter) transmitting sine-wave bursts of 400 μs, synchronized with the OCT swept source wavelength sweep. The acoustic radiation force (ARF) was applied to two gelatin phantoms (differing in gelatin concentration by weight, 8% vs. 14%). Differential OCT phase maps, measured with and without the ARF, demonstrate microscopic displacement generated by shear wave propagation in these phantoms of different stiffness. We present preliminary results of OCT derived shear wave propagation velocity and modulus, and compare these results to rheometer measurements. The results demonstrate the feasibility of shear wave OCE (SW-OCE) for high-resolution microscopic homogeneous tissue mechanical property characterization.
(170.4500) Optical coherence tomography; (170.6935) Tissue characterization
Time-of-flight methods allow quantitative measurement of shear wave speed (SWS) from ultra-sonically tracked displacements following impulsive, acoustic radiation force excitation in tissue. In heterogeneous materials, reflections at boundaries can distort the wave shape and confound determination of the wave arrival time. The magnitude of these effects depends on the shear wavelength of the excitation, the kernel size used to calculate the SWS, and the method used to determine the wave arrival time. In this study, we perform a parametric analysis of these factors using finite element modeling of the tissue response, and simulated ultrasonic tracking. Two geometries are used, a stiff, vertical layer, and a stiff spherical inclusion, each in a uniform background. Wave arrival times are estimated using the peak displacement, peak slope of the leading edge, and cross correlation methods. Results are evaluated in terms of reconstruction accuracy, resolution, contrast, and contrast-to-noise ratio of reconstructed SWS images. Superior results are obtained using narrower excitation widths and arrival time estimators which identify the leading edge of the propagating wave. The optimal kernel size is determined by a tradeoff between improved accuracy for larger kernels at the expense of spatial resolution.
The use of ultrasonic methods to track the tissue deformation generated by acoustic radiation force is subject to jitter and displacement underestimation errors, with displacement underestimation being primarily caused by lateral and elevation shearing within the point spread function (PSF) of the ultrasonic beam. Models have been developed using finite element methods and Field II, a linear acoustic field simulation package, to study the impact of focal configuration, tracking frequency, and material properties on the accuracy of ultrasonically tracking the tissue deformation generated by acoustic radiation force excitations. These models demonstrate that lateral and elevation shearing underneath the PSF of the tracking beam leads to displacement underestimation in the focal zone. Displacement underestimation can be reduced by using tracking beams that are narrower than the spatial extent of the displacement fields. Displacement underestimation and jitter decrease with time after excitation as shear wave propagation away from the region of excitation reduces shearing in the lateral and elevation dimensions. The use of higher tracking frequencies in broadband transducers, along with 2D focusing in the elevation dimension, will reduce jitter and improve displacement tracking accuracy. Relative displacement underestimation remains constant as a function of applied force, while jitter increases with applied force. Underdeveloped speckle (SNR <1.91) leads to greater levels of jitter and peak displacement underestimation. Axial shearing is minimal over the tracking kernel lengths used in Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse (ARFI) imaging and thus does not impact displacement tracking.
The stiffness of tissue can be quantified by measuring the shear wave speed (SWS) within the medium. Ultrasound is a real-time imaging modality capable of tracking the propagation of shear waves in soft tissue. Time-of-flight (TOF) methods have previously been shown to be effective for quantifying SWS from ultrasonically tracked displacements. However, the application of these methods to in vivo data is challenging due to the presence of additional sources of error, such as physiological motion, or spatial inhomogeneities in tissue. This paper introduces the use of random sample consensus (RANSAC), a model fitting paradigm robust to the presence of gross outlier data, for estimating the SWS from ultrasonically tracked tissue displacements in vivo. SWS reconstruction is posed as a parameter estimation problem, and the RANSAC solution to this problem is described. Simulations using synthetic TOF data show that RANSAC is capable of good stiffness reconstruction accuracy (mean error 0.5 kPa) and precision (standard deviation 0.6 kPa) over a range of shear stiffness (0.6 – 10 kPa) and proportion of inlier data (50 – 95%). As with all TOF SWS estimation methods, the accuracy and precision of the RANSAC reconstructed shear modulus decreases with increasing tissue stiffness. The RANSAC SWS estimator was applied to radiation force induced shear wave data from 123 human patient livers acquired with a modified SONOLINE Antares ultrasound system (Siemens Healthcare, Ultrasound Business Unit, Mountain View, CA, USA) in a clinical setting before liver biopsy was performed. Stiffness measurements were not possible in 19 patients due to the absence of shear wave propagation inside the liver. The mean liver stiffness for the remaining 104 patients ranged from 1.3 – 24.2 kPa, and the proportion of inliers for the successful reconstructions ranged between 42 – 99%. Using RANSAC for SWS estimation improved the diagnostic accuracy of liver stiffness for delineating fibrosis stage when compared to ordinary least squares (OLS) without outlier removal (AUROC = 0.94 for F≥ 3 and AUROC = 0.98 for F= 4). These results show that RANSAC is a suitable method for estimating the SWS from noisy in vivo shear wave displacements tracked by ultrasound.
acoustic radiation force; hepatic fibrosis; shear wave; stiffness; ultrasound
The aim of this publication is to give an answer to the question whether 2D, 3D and 4D sonography of the breast can be replaced by elastography or whether elastography is an adjunct tool to B-mode imaging. The Breast Imaging and Reporting Data System (BI-RADS) ultrasound (US) descriptors of a lesion besides vascularity are based on B-mode imaging. US elastography displays the mechanical tissue properties. This information can be obtained by freehand compression and decompression. Acoustic radiation force impulse imaging (ARFI) produces stress with low-frequency push pulses. Manual compression by the transducer is not necessary. Shear wave elastography (SWE) is the combination of ARFI and the measurement of the consecutive shear wave propagations in the tissue. A quantification of the elasticity in kilopascal (kPa) is offered. Discussing B-mode imaging and elastography combined with the literature, elastography is seen as an addition to B-mode imaging with the potential to increase the specificity of the B-mode imaging-based BI-RADS assessment. In spite of additional elasticity information, the sensitivity remains high. A time-saving diagnostic algorithm for 2D, 3D US and elastography is described. In conclusion, it must be said that elasticity is not a stand-alone US modality able to replace 2D and 3D sonography.
Breast; Ultrasound; Three-dimensional imaging; Elastography; Breast Diseases
Elasticity-based imaging modalities are becoming popular diagnostic tools in clinical practice. Gelatin-based, tissue mimicking phantoms that contain graphite as the acoustic scattering material are commonly used in testing and validating elasticity-imaging methods to quantify tissue stiffness. The gelatin bloom strength and concentration are used to control phantom stiffness. While it is known that graphite concentration can be modulated to control acoustic attenuation, the impact of graphite concentrationon phantom elasticity has not been characterized in these gelatin phantoms. This work investigates the impact of graphite concentration on phantom shear stiffness as characterized by shear-wave speed measurements using impulsive acoustic-radiation-force excitations. Phantom shear-wave speed increased by 0.83 (m/s)/(dB/(cm MHz)) when increasing the attenuation coefficient slope of the phantom material through increasing graphite concentration. Therefore, gelatin-phantom stiffness can be affected by the conventional ways that attenuation is modulated through graphite concentration in these phantoms.
Acoustic radiation force; ARFI; attenuation coefficient slope; elasticity; graphite; phantom; shear wave; stiffness
Fast and accurate tissue elasticity imaging is essential in studying dynamic tissue mechanical properties. Various ultrasound shear elasticity imaging techniques have been developed in the last two decades. However, to reconstruct a full field-of-view 2D shear elasticity map, multiple data acquisitions are typically required. In this paper, a novel shear elasticity imaging technique, comb-push ultrasound shear elastography (CUSE), is introduced in which only one rapid data acquisition (less than 35 ms) is needed to reconstruct a full field-of-view 2D shear wave speed map (40 mm × 38 mm). Multiple unfocused ultrasound beams arranged in a comb pattern (comb-push) are used to generate shear waves. A directional filter is then applied upon the shear wave field to extract the left-to-right (LR) and right-to-left (RL) propagating shear waves. Local shear wave speed is recovered using a time-of-flight method based on both LR and RL waves. Finally a 2D shear wave speed map is reconstructed by combining the LR and RL speed maps. Smooth and accurate shear wave speed maps are reconstructed using the proposed CUSE method in two calibrated homogeneous phantoms with different moduli. Inclusion phantom experiments demonstrate that CUSE is capable of providing good contrast (contrast-to-noise-ratio ≥ 25 dB) between the inclusion and background without artifacts and is insensitive to inclusion positions. Safety measurements demonstrate that all regulated parameters of the ultrasound output level used in CUSE sequence are well below the FDA limits for diagnostic ultrasound.
comb-push; unfocused ultrasound beam; ultrasound elastography; acoustic radiation force; inclusion
Acoustic Radiation Force (ARF)-based methods have been demonstrated to be a viable tool for noninvasively estimating tissue elastic properties, and shear wave velocimetry has been used to quantitatively measure the stiffening and relaxation of myocardial tissue in open-chest experiments. Dynamic stiffness metrics may prove to be indicators for certain cardiac diseases, but a clinically-viable means of remotely generating and tracking transverse wave propagation in myocardium is needed. Intracardiac echocardiography (ICE) catheter-tip transducers are demonstrated here as a viable tool for making this measurement. ICE probes achieve favorable proximity to the myocardium, enabling the use of shear wave velocimetry from within the right ventricle throughout the cardiac cycle. This work describes the techniques used to overcome the challenges of using a small probe to perform ARF-driven shear wave velocimetry, and presents in vivo porcine data showing the effectiveness of this method in the interventricular septum. Acoustic Radiation Force (ARF)-based methods have been demonstrated to be a viable tool for noninvasively estimating tissue elastic properties, and shear wave velocimetry has been used to quantitatively measure the stiffening and relaxation of myocardial tissue in open-chest experiments. Dynamic stiffness metrics may prove to be indicators for certain cardiac diseases, but a clinically-viable means of remotely generating and tracking transverse wave propagation in myocardium is needed. Intracardiac echocardiography (ICE) catheter-tip transducers are demonstrated here as a viable tool for making this measurement. ICE probes achieve favorable proximity to the myocardium, enabling the use of shear wave velocimetry from within the right ventricle throughout the cardiac cycle. This work describes the techniques used to overcome the challenges of using a small probe to perform ARF-driven shear wave velocimetry, and presents in vivo porcine data showing the effectiveness of this method in the interventricular septum.
Ultrasonic Imaging; Acoustic Radiation Force; Intracardiac Echocardiography; Myocardial Stiffness; Shear Wave Velocimetry
Acoustic radiation force based elasticity imaging methods are under investigation by many groups. These methods differ from traditional ultrasonic elasticity imaging methods in that they do not require compression of the transducer, and are thus expected to be less operator dependent. Methods have been developed that utilize impulsive (i.e. < 1 ms), harmonic (pulsed), and steady state radiation force excitations. The work discussed herein utilizes impulsive methods, for which two imaging approaches have been pursued: 1) monitoring the tissue response within the radiation force region of excitation (ROE) and generating images of relative differences in tissue stiffness (Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse (ARFI) imaging); and 2) monitoring the speed of shear wave propagation away from the ROE to quantify tissue stiffness (Shear Wave Elasticity Imaging (SWEI)). For these methods, a single ultrasound transducer on a commercial ultrasound system can be used to both generate acoustic radiation force in tissue, and to monitor the tissue displacement response. The response of tissue to this transient excitation is complicated and depends upon tissue geometry, radiation force field geometry, and tissue mechanical and acoustic properties. Higher shear wave speeds and smaller displacements are associated with stiffer tissues, and slower shear wave speeds and larger displacements occur with more compliant tissues. ARFI images have spatial resolution comparable to that of B-mode, often with greater contrast, providing matched, adjunctive information. SWEI images provide quantitative information about the tissue stiffness, typically with lower spatial resolution. A review these methods and examples of clinical applications are presented herein.
Acoustic Radiation Force; Shear Wave Speed; Ultrasound; Elastography; Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse (ARFI) Imaging; Soft Tissue; Viscoelastic Properties
A novel elasticity imaging system founded on the use of acoustic radiation forces from a dual beam arrangement to generate shear wave interference patterns is described. Acquired pulse-echo data and correlation-based techniques were used to estimate the resultant deformation and to visualize tissue viscoelastic response. The use of normal versus axicon focal configurations was investigated for effects on shear wave generation. Theoretical models were introduced and shown in simulation to accurately predict shear wave propagation and interference pattern properties. In a tissue-mimicking phantom, experimental results are in congruence with theoretical predictions. Using dynamic acoustic radiation force excitation, results confirm that shear wave interference patterns can be produced remotely in a particular tissue region of interest (ROI). Overall, preliminary results are encouraging and the system described may prove feasible for interrogating the viscoelastic properties of normal and diseased tissue types.
We present a novel method for ultrasound backscatter image formation wherein lateral resolution of the target is obtained by using traveling shear waves to encode the lateral position of targets in the phase of the received echo. We demonstrate that the phase modulation as a function of shear wavenumber can be expressed in terms of a Fourier transform of the lateral component of the target echogenicity. The inverse transform, obtained by measurements of the phase modulation over a range of shear wave spatial frequencies, yields the lateral scatterer distribution. Range data are recovered from time of flight as in conventional ultrasound, yielding a B-mode-like image. In contrast to conventional ultrasound imaging, where mechanical or electronic focusing is used and lateral resolution is determined by aperture size and wavelength, we demonstrate that lateral resolution using the proposed method is independent of the properties of the aperture. Lateral resolution of the target is achieved using a stationary, unfocused, single-element transducer. We present simulated images of targets of uniform and non-uniform shear modulus. Compounding for speckle reduction is demonstrated. Finally, we demonstrate image formation with an unfocused transducer in gelatin phantoms of uniform shear modulus.
Dynamic Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE) quantitatively maps the stiffness of tissues by imaging propagating shear waves in the tissue. These waves can be produced from intrinsic motion sources (e.g., due to cardiac motion), from external motion sources that produce motion directly at depth in tissue (e.g., amplitude-modulated focused ultrasound), and from external actuators that produce motion at the tissue surface that propagates into the tissue. With external actuator setups, typically only a single transducer is used to create the shear waves, which in some applications might have limitations due to shadowing and attenuation of the waves. To address these limitations, a phased-array acoustic driver system capable of applying independently controlled waveforms to each channel was developed and tested. It was found that the system produced much more uniform illumination of the object, improving the quality of the elastogram. It was also found that the accuracy of the stiffness value of any arbitrary region of interest could be improved by obtaining maximal shear wave illumination with the phased array capability of the system.
Magnetic resonance elastography; multiple transducers; shear wave illumination; phased array transducers; tissue stiffness
Shear wave elasticity imaging (SWEI) was employed to track acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) -induced shear waves in the mid-myocardium of the left ventricular free wall (LVFW) of a beating canine heart. Shear waves were generated and tracked with a linear ultrasound transducer that was placed directly on the exposed epicardium. Acquinsition was ECG-gated arid coincided with the mid-diastolic portion of the cardiac cycle. Axial displacement profiles consistent with shear wave propagation were clearly evident in all SWEI acquisitions (i.e., those including an ARFI excitation); displacement data from control cases (i.e., sequences lacking an ARFI excitation) offered no evidence of shear wave propagation and yielded a peak absolute mean displacement below 0.31 μm after motion filtering. Shear wave velocity estimates ranged from 0.82 to 2.65 m/s and were stable across multiple heartbeats for the same interrogation region, with coefficients of variation less than 19% for all matched acquisitions. Variations in velocity estimates suggest a spatial dependence of shear wave velocity through the mid-myocardium of the LVFW, with velocity estimates changing, in limited cases, through depth and lateral position.
Acoustic radiation force; cardiac imaging; myocardium; shear wave velocimetry; ultrasound
A validation study of the Spatially Modulated Ultrasound Radiation Force (SMURF) method for shear modulus estimation is presented. SMURF estimates of uniform gelatin and Zerdine™ phantoms covering a modulus range of 2 to 18 kPa are compared with results obtained by unconfined mechanical compression and sonoelastography. The results show agreement within the measurement uncertainties over the range indicated for all three methods. Repeatability and variation on the order of 5% of the phantom modulus are found for observations made at a single point within the phantom. Averaging of modulus estimates from several adjacent scan lines further decreases the variation. By using multiple radiation force peaks to induce a shear wave of known wavelength and measure the frequency of the wave, SMURF obtains modulus estimates from tracking data acquired along a single A-line. This is significant, as speckle can bias the measured phase of the shear wave. SMURF is shown to be insensitive to a constant phase error in the shear wave measurement. This results in greatly reduced correlated noise in the modulus estimates, in contrast with methods which track at multiple locations and do not cancel phase errors.
Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) is a noninvasive imaging technique capable of quantifying and spatially resolving the shear stiffness of soft tissues by visualization of synchronized mechanical wave displacement fields. However, MRE inversions generally assume that the measured tissue motion consists primarily of shear waves propagating in a uniform, infinite medium. This assumption is not valid in organs such as the heart, eye, bladder, skin, fascia, bone and spinal cord in which the shear wavelength approaches the geometric dimensions of the object. The aim of this study was to develop and test mathematical inversion algorithms capable of resolving shear stiffness from displacement maps of flexural waves propagating in bounded media such as beams, plates and spherical shells using geometry-specific equations of motion. MRE and finite element modeling (FEM) of beam, plate, and spherical shell phantoms of various geometries were performed. Mechanical testing of the phantoms agreed with the stiffness values obtained from FEM and MRE data and a linear correlation of r2 ≥ 0.99 was observed between the stiffness values obtained using MRE and FEM data. In conclusion, we have demonstrated new inversion methods for calculating shear stiffness that may be more appropriate for waves propagating in bounded media.
MRE Inversions; Bounded media; MRE