Special Collection: Ultrafast Contrast Imaging
- Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) utilising microbubbles shows great potential for visualising lymphatic vessels and identifying sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs) which are valuable for axillary staging in breast cancer patients. However, current CEUS imaging techniques have limitations that affect the accurate visualisation and tracking of lymphatic vessels and SLN. (i) Tissue artefacts and bubble disruption can reduce the image contrast. (ii) Limited spatial and temporal resolution diminishes the amount of information that can be captured by CEUS.
- Quantification of 3-D intravascular flow is valuable for studying arterial wall diseases but currently there is a lack of effective clinical tools for this purpose. Divergence-free interpolation (DFI) using radial basis function (RBF) is an emerging approach for full-field flow reconstruction using experimental sparse flow field samples. Previous DFI reconstructs full-field flow from scattered 3-D velocity input obtained using phase-contrast magnetic resonance imaging with low temporal resolution.
- In this study, a technique for high-frame-rate ultrasound imaging velocimetry (UIV) is extended first to provide more robust quantitative flow velocity mapping using ensemble correlation of images without coherent compounding, and second to generate spatio-temporal wall shear stress (WSS) distribution. A simulation model, which couples the ultrasound simulator with analytical flow solution, was implemented to evaluate its accuracy. It is shown that the proposed approach can reduce errors in velocity estimation by up to 10-fold in comparison with the coherent correlation approach.
- There is increasing recognition of the influence of the flow field on the physiology of blood vessels and their development of pathology. Preliminary work is reported on a novel non-invasive technique, microbubble void imaging, which is based on ultrasound and controlled destruction of microbubble contrast agents, permitting flow visualisation and quantification of flow-induced mixing in large vessels. The generation of microbubble voids can be controlled both spatially and temporally using ultrasound parameters within the safety limits.
- Ultrasound imaging is the most widely used method for visualising and quantifying blood flow in medical practice, but existing techniques have various limitations in terms of imaging sensitivity, field of view, flow angle dependence, and imaging depth. In this study, we developed an ultrasound imaging velocimetry approach capable of visualising and quantifying dynamic flow, by combining high-frame-rate plane wave ultrasound imaging, microbubble contrast agents, pulse inversion contrast imaging and speckle image tracking algorithms.