A Special Collection of Papers from the 25th European Symposium on Ultrasound Contrast Imaging
- Cardiac function and vascular function are closely related to the flow of blood within. The flow velocities in these larger cavities easily reach 1 m/s, and generally complex spatiotemporal flow patterns are involved, especially in a non-physiologic state. Visualization of such flow patterns using ultrasound can be greatly enhanced by administration of contrast agents. Tracking the high-velocity complex flows is challenging with current clinical echographic tools, mostly because of limitations in signal-to-noise ratio; estimation of lateral velocities; and/or frame rate of the contrast-enhanced imaging mode.
- Ultrasound is extensively used in medical imaging, being safe and inexpensive and operating in real time. Its scope of applications has been widely broadened by the use of ultrasound contrast agents (UCAs) in the form of microscopic bubbles coated by a biocompatible shell. Their increased use has motivated a large amount of research to understand and characterize their physical properties as well as their interaction with the ultrasound field and their surrounding environment. Here we review the theoretical models that have been proposed to study and predict the behavior of UCAs.
- Therapeutic ultrasound strategies that harness the mechanical activity of cavitation nuclei for beneficial tissue bio-effects are actively under development. The mechanical oscillations of circulating microbubbles, the most widely investigated cavitation nuclei, which may also encapsulate or shield a therapeutic agent in the bloodstream, trigger and promote localized uptake. Oscillating microbubbles can create stresses either on nearby tissue or in surrounding fluid to enhance drug penetration and efficacy in the brain, spinal cord, vasculature, immune system, biofilm or tumors.