Original Contribution| Volume 49, ISSUE 5, P1238-1247, May 2023

Backscatter tensor imaging and 3D speckle tracking for simultaneous ex vivo structure and deformation measurement of myocardium

  • John M. Cormack
    Corresponding author at 3550 Terrace Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261.
    Center for Ultrasound Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261-1909, USA

    Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA
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  • Marc A. Simon
    Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA
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  • Kang Kim
    Center for Ultrasound Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261-1909, USA

    Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA

    Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15213, USA
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      Objective: Biaxial mechanical testing is a common method for elucidation of mechanical properties of excised ventricular myocardium, especially in the context of structural remodeling that accompanies heart disease. Current imaging strategies in biaxial testing are based on optical camera imaging of the tissue surface, thus providing no information about the tissue microstructure and limiting strain measurements to two dimensions. Here, these limitations are overcome by replacing the camera with ultrasound imaging in order to measure both transmural fiber orientation and 3D tissue deformation during biaxial testing. Methods: Quasi-static biaxial mechanical testing is applied to four samples of excised porcine ventricular myocardium (two left- and two right-ventricular tissues). During testing, a rotational scan of an ultrasound linear array provides data for both backscatter tensor imaging and 3D speckle tracking, from which transmural fiber orientation and tissue deformation are computed, respectively. Ultrasound-derived fiber orientation and tissue strain are validated against histology and camera surface imaging, respectively. Discussion: Ultrasound-derived fiber angle and tissue strain exhibit good accuracy, with root-mean-square errors of 9.9° and 1.2% strain, respectively. Further investigation into the optimization of backscatter tensor imaging is warranted. Replacing the rotational scan of a linear array with volume imaging with a matrix array will improve the technique. Conclusion: Ultrasound imaging can replace the optical camera measurement during biaxial mechanical testing of ventricular myocardium in order to accurately provide measurements of transmural fiber orientation and tissue strain. In situ knowledge of transmural fiber structure and tissue deformation can enhance the inverse problem used to determine tissue mechanical properties from biaxial testing.


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