Original Contribution| Volume 44, ISSUE 10, P2131-2142, October 2018

Fast, Low-Frequency Plane-Wave Imaging for Ultrasound Contrast Imaging

  • Jiro Kusunose
    Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
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  • Charles F. Caskey
    Address correspondence to: Charles F. Caskey, Vanderbilt University, Medical Center North, 1161 21st Avenue South, R-0103, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.
    Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA

    Department of Radiology and Radiologic Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA

    Department of Biomedical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
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      Plane-wave ultrasound contrast imaging offers a faster, less destructive means for imaging microbubbles compared with traditional ultrasound imaging. Even though many of the most acoustically responsive microbubbles have resonant frequencies in the lower-megahertz range, higher frequencies (>3 MHz) have typically been employed to achieve high spatial resolution. In this work we implement and optimize low-frequency (1.5-4 MHz) plane-wave pulse inversion imaging on a commercial, phased-array imaging transducer in vitro and illustrate its use in vivo by imaging a mouse xenograft model. We found that the 1.8-MHz contrast signal was about four times that acquired at 3.1 MHz on matched probes and nine times greater than echoes received on a higher-frequency probe. Low-frequency imaging was also much more resilient to motion. In vivo, we could identify sub-millimeter vasculature inside a xenograft tumor model and easily assess microbubble half-life. Our results indicate that low-frequency imaging can provide better signal-to-noise because it generates stronger non-linear responses. Combined with high-speed plane-wave imaging, this method could open the door to super-resolution imaging at depth, while high power pulses could be used for image-guided therapeutics.

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