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Comparing Myocardial Shear Wave Propagation Velocity Estimation Methods Based on Tissue Displacement, Velocity and Acceleration Data

      Abstract

      Shear wave elastography (SWE) is a promising technique used to assess cardiac function through the evaluation of cardiac stiffness non-invasively. However, in the literature, SWE varies in terms of tissue motion data (displacement, velocity or acceleration); method used to characterize mechanical wave propagation (time domain [TD] vs. frequency domain [FD]); and the metric reported (wave speed [WS], shear or Young's modulus). This variety of reported methodologies complicates comparison of reported findings and sheds doubt on which methodology better approximates the true myocardial properties. We therefore conducted a simulation study to investigate the accuracy of various SWE data analysis approaches while varying cardiac geometry and stiffness. Lower WS values were obtained by the TD method compared with the FD method. Acceleration-based WS estimates in the TD were systematically larger than those based on velocity (∼10% difference). These observations were confirmed by TD analysis of 32 in vivo SWE mechanical wave measurements. In vivo data quality is typically too low for accurate FD analysis. Therefore, our study suggests using acceleration-based TD analysis for in vivo SWE to minimize underestimation of the true WS and, thus, to maximize the sensitivity of SWE to detect stiffness changes resulting from pathology.

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