Acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging has been shown to be capable of imaging local myocardial stiffness changes throughout the cardiac cycle. Expanding on these results, the authors present experiments using cardiac ARFI imaging to visualize and quantify the propagation of mechanical stiffness during ventricular systole. In vivo ARFI images of the left ventricular free wall of two exposed canine hearts were acquired. Images were formed while the heart was externally paced by one of two electrodes positioned on the epicardial surface and either side of the imaging plane. Two-line M-mode ARFI images were acquired at a sampling frequency of 120 Hz while the heart was paced from an external stimulating electrode. Two-dimensional ARFI images were also acquired, and an average propagation velocity across the lateral field of view was calculated. Directions and speeds of myocardial stiffness propagation were measured and compared with the propagations derived from the local electrocardiogram (ECG), strain, and tissue velocity measurements estimated during systole. In all ARFI images, the direction of myocardial stiffness propagation was seen to be away from the stimulating electrode and occurred with similar velocity magnitudes in either direction. When compared with the local epicardial ECG, the mechanical stiffness waves were observed to travel in the same direction as the propagating electrical wave and with similar propagation velocities. In a comparison between ARFI, strain, and tissue velocity imaging, the three methods also yielded similar propagation velocities.
acoustic radiation force; cardiac imaging; electrocardiogram; myocardium; stiffness propagation; ultrasound
In this study, we investigated the feasibility of using 3.5-Fr IVUS catheters for minimally-invasive, image-guided hyperthermia treatment of tumors in the brain. Feasibility was demonstrated by: 1) retro-fitting a commercial 3.5-Fr IVUS catheter with a 5 × 0.5 × 0.22 mm PZT-4 transducer for 9-MHz imaging, and 2) testing an identical transducer for therapy potential with 3.3-MHz continuous-wave excitation. The imaging transducer was compared to a 9-Fr, 9-MHz ICE catheter when visualizing the post-mortem ovine brain, and was also used to attempt vascular access to an in vivo porcine brain. A net average electrical power input of 700 mW was applied to the therapy transducer, producing a temperature rise of +13.5°C at a depth of 1.5 mm in live brain tumor tissue in the mouse model. These results suggest that it may be feasible to combine the imaging and therapeutic capabilities into a single device as a clinically-viable instrument.
dual-mode catheter transducer; ultrasound hyperthermia; intravascular ultrasound
As a treatment for aortic stenosis, several companies have recently introduced prosthetic heart valves designed to be deployed through a catheter using an intravenous or trans-apical approach. This procedure can either take the place of open heart surgery with some of the devices, or delay it with others. Real-time 3D ultrasound could enable continuous monitoring of these structures before, during and after deployment. We have developed a 2D ring array integrated with a 30 French catheter that is used for trans-apical prosthetic heart valve implantation. The transducer array was built using three 46 cm long flex circuits from MicroConnex (Snoqualmie, WA) which terminate in an interconnect that plugs directly into our system cable, thus no cable soldering is required. This transducer consists of 210 elements at .157 mm inter-element spacing and operates at 5 MHz. Average measured element bandwidth was 26% and average round-trip 50 Ohm insertion loss was -81.1 dB. The transducer were wrapped around the 1 cm diameter lumen of a heart valve deployment catheter. Prosthetic heart valve images were obtained in water tank studies.
Thresholding is an often-used method of spike detection for implantable neural signal processors due to its computational simplicity. A means for automatically selecting the threshold is desirable, especially for high channel count data acquisition systems. Estimating the noise level and setting the threshold to a multiple of this level is a computationally simple means of automatically selecting a threshold. We present an analysis of this method as it is commonly applied to neural waveforms. Four different operators were used to estimate the noise level in neural waveforms and set thresholds for spike detection. An optimal multiplier was identified for each noise measure using a metric appropriate for a brain-machine interface application. The commonly used root-mean-square operator was found to be least advantageous for setting the threshold. Investigators using this form of automatic threshold selection or developing new unsupervised methods can benefit from the optimization framework presented here.
Threshold; Spike detection; Noise estimate; Neural signal processor; Brain-machine interface
A fully implantable neural data acquisition system is a key component of a clinically viable brain-machine interface. This type of system must communicate with the outside world and obtain power without the use of wires that cross through the skin. We present a 96-channel fully implantable neural data acquisition system. This system performs spike detection and extraction within the body and wirelessly transmits data to an external unit. Power is supplied wirelessly through the use of inductively-coupled coils. The system was implanted acutely in sheep and successfully recorded, processed, and transmitted neural data. Bidirectional communication between the implanted system and an external unit was successful over a range of 2 m. The system is also shown to integrate well into a brain-machine interface. This demonstration of a high channel-count fully implanted neural data acquisition system is a critical step in the development of a clinically viable brain-machine interface.
Intracardiac echocardiography (ICE) has been demonstrated to be an effective imaging modality for the guidance of several cardiac procedures, including radiofrequency ablation (RFA). However, assessing lesion size during the ablation with conventional ultrasound has been limited, as the associated changes within the B-mode images often are subtle. Acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging is a promising modality to monitor RFAs as it is capable of visualizing variations in local stiffnesses within the myocardium. We demonstrate ARFI imaging with an intracardiac probe that creates higher quality images of the developing lesion.
We evaluated the performance of an ICE probe with ARFI imaging in monitoring RFAs. The intracardiac probe was used to create high contrast, high resolution ARFI images of a tissue-mimicking phantom containing stiffer spherical inclusions. The probe also was used to examine an excised segment of an ovine right ventricle with a RFA-created surface lesion. Although the lesion was not visible in conventional B-mode images, the ARFI images were able to show the boundaries between the lesion and the surrounding tissue.
ARFI imaging with an intracardiac probe then was used to monitor cardiac ablations in vivo. RFAs were performed within the right atrium of an ovine heart, and B-mode and ARFI imaging with the intracardiac probe was used to monitor the developing lesions. Although there was little indication of a developing lesion within the B-mode images, the corresponding ARFI images displayed regions around the ablation site that displaced less.
Acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging has been demonstrated to be capable of visualizing changes in local myocardial stiffness through a normal cardiac cycle. As a beating heart involves rapidly-moving tissue with cyclically-varying myocardial stiffness, it is desirable to form images with high frame rates and minimize susceptibility to motion artifacts.
Three novel ARFI imaging methods, pre-excitation displacement estimation, parallel-transmit excitation and parallel-transmit tracking, were implemented. Along with parallel-receive, ECG-gating and multiplexed imaging, these new techniques were used to form high-quality, high-resolution epicardial ARFI images. Three-line M-mode, extended ECG-gated three-line M-mode and ECG-gated two-dimensional ARFI imaging sequences were developed to address specific challenges related to cardiac imaging. In vivo epicardial ARFI images of an ovine heart were formed using these sequences and the quality and utility of the resultant ARFI-induced displacement curves were evaluated. The ARFI-induced displacement curves demonstrate the potential for ARFI imaging to provide new and unique information into myocardial stiffness with high temporal and spatial resolution.
Acoustic radiation force impulse imaging; echocardiography; motion filter; ultrasound
In this study, we investigated the feasibility of an intracranial catheter transducer with dual-mode capability of real-time 3D (RT3D) imaging and ultrasound hyperthermia, for application in the visualization and treatment of tumors in the brain. Feasibility is demonstrated in two ways: first by using a 50-element linear array transducer (17 mm × 3.1 mm aperture) operating at 4.4 MHz with our Volumetrics diagnostic scanner and custom electrical impedance matching circuits to achieve a temperature rise over 4°C in excised pork muscle, and second by designing and constructing a 12 Fr, integrated matrix and linear array catheter transducer prototype for combined RT3D imaging and heating capability. This dual-mode catheter incorporated 153 matrix array elements and 11 linear array elements diced on a 0.2 mm pitch, with a total aperture size of 8.4 mm × 2.3 mm. This array achieved a 3.5°C in vitro temperature rise at a 2 cm focal distance in tissue-mimicking material. The dual-mode catheter prototype was compared with a Siemens 10 Fr AcuNav™ catheter as a gold standard in experiments assessing image quality and therapeutic potential, and both probes were used in a canine brain model to image anatomical structures and color Doppler blood flow and to attempt in vivo heating.
catheter transducer; real-time 3D imaging; ultrasound hyperthermia; dual-mode array
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 transducer originally designed for Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE) was adapted for real-time volumetric endoscopic imaging of the brain. The transducer consists of a 36 × 36 array with an interelement spacing of 0.18 mm. There are 504 transmitting and 252 receive channels placed in a regular pattern in the array. The operating frequency is 4.5 MHz with a −6 dB bandwidth of 30%. The transducer is fabricated on a 10 layer flexible circuit from MicroConnex (Snoqualmie, WA). The purpose of this study is to evaluate the clinical feasibility of real-time 3D intracranial ultrasound with this device. The Volumetrics Medical Imaging (Durham, NC) 3D scanner was used to obtain images in a canine model. A transcalvarial acoustic window was created under general anesthesia in the animal laboratory by placing a 10 mm burr hole in the high parietal calvarium of a 50 kg canine subject. The burr-hole was placed in a left para-sagittal location to avoid the sagittal sinus, and the transducer was placed against the intact dura mater for ultrasound imaging. Images of the lateral ventricles were produced, including real-time 3D guidance of a needle puncture of one ventricle. In a second canine subject, contrast (Optison™, Amersham Health, Inc., Princeton, NJ) enhanced 3D Doppler color flow images were made of the cerebral vessels including the complete Circle of Willis. Clinical applications may include real-time 3D guidance of cerebral spinal fluid extraction from the lateral ventricles and bedside evaluation of critically ill patients where CT and MR imaging techniques are unavailable.
Real-Time 3D Imaging; 2D Array Transducer; Intraoperative Guidance
Ultrasound image guidance of interventional devices during minimally invasive surgery provides the clinician with improved soft tissue contrast while reducing ionizing radiation exposure. One problem with ultrasound image guidance is poor visualization of the device tip during the clinical procedure. We have described previously guidance of several interventional devices using a real-time 3-D (RT3-D) ultrasound system with 3-D color Doppler combined with the ColorMark technology. We then developed an analytical model for a vibrating needle to maximize the tip vibrations and improve the reliability and sensitivity of our technique. In this paper, we use the analytical model and improved radiofrequency (RF) and color Doppler filters to detect two different vibrating devices in water tank experiments as well as in an in vivo canine experiment. We performed water tank experiments with four different 3-D transducers: a 5 MHz transesophageal (TEE) probe, a 5 MHz transthoracic (TTE) probe, a 5 MHz intracardiac catheter (ICE) transducer, and a 2.5 MHz commercial TTE probe. Each transducer was used to scan an aortic graft suspended in the water tank. An atrial septal puncture needle and an endomyocardial biopsy forceps, each vibrating at 1.3 kHz, were inserted into the vascular graft and were tracked using 3-D color Doppler. Improved RF and wall filters increased the detected color Doppler sensitivity by 14 dB. In three simultaneous planes from the in vivo 3-D scan, we identified both the septal puncture needle and the biopsy forceps within the right atrium using the 2.5 MHz probe. A new display filter was used to suppress the unwanted flash artifact associated with physiological motion.
Acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging has been demonstrated to be capable of visualizing variations in local stiffness within soft tissue. Recent advances in ARFI beam sequencing and parallel imaging have shortened acquisition times and lessened transducer heating to a point where ARFI acquisitions can be executed at high frame rates on commercially available diagnostic scanners. In vivo ARFI images were acquired with a linear array placed on an exposed canine heart. The electrocardiogram (ECG) was also recorded. When co-registered with the ECG, ARFI displacement images of the heart reflect the expected myocardial stiffness changes during the cardiac cycle. A radiofrequency ablation was performed on the epicardial surface of the left ventricular free wall, creating a small lesion that did not vary in stiffness during a heartbeat, though continued to move with the rest of the heart. ARFI images showed a hemispherical, stiffer region at the ablation site whose displacement magnitude and temporal variation through the cardiac cycle were less than the surrounding untreated myocardium. Sequences with radiation force pulse amplitudes set to zero were acquired to measure potential cardiac motion artifacts within the ARFI images. The results show promise for real-time cardiac ARFI imaging.
Ultrasound; Ultrasonic Imaging; Acoustic Radiation Force; Echocardiography; Myocardial Stiffness
Lesion placement and transmurality are critical factors in the success of cardiac transcatheter radiofrequency ablation (RFA) treatments for supraventricular arrhythmias. This study investigated the capabilities of catheter transducer based acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) ultrasound imaging for quantifying ablation lesion dimensions.
Methods and Results
RFA lesions were created in vitro in porcine ventricular myocardium and imaged with an intracardiac ultrasound catheter transducer capable of acquiring spatially registered B-mode and ARFI images. The myocardium was sliced along the imaging plane and photographed. The maximum ARFI-induced displacement images of the lesion were normalized and spatially registered with the photograph by matching the surfaces of the tissue in the B-mode and photographic images. The lesion dimensions determined by a manual segmentation of the photographed lesion based on the visible discoloration of the tissue were compared to automatic segmentations of the ARFI image using two different calculated thresholds. ARFI imaging accurately localized and sized the lesions within the myocardium. Differences in the maximum lateral and axial dimensions were statistically below 2 mm and 1 mm respectively for the two thresholding methods, with mean percent overlap of 68.7±5.21% and 66.3±8.4% for the two thresholds used.
ARFI imaging is capable of visualizing myocardial RFA lesion dimensions to within 2 mm in vitro. Visualizing lesions during transcatheter cardiac ablation procedures could improve the success of the treatment by imaging lesion line discontinuity and potentially reducing the required number of ablation lesions and procedure time.
acoustic radiation force impulse imaging; radiofrequency catheter ablation; atrial fibrillation; atrial arrhythmias; intracardiac echocardiography