Efficient Strategies for Estimating the Spatial Coherence of Backscatter.
The spatial coherence of ultrasound backscatter has been proposed to reduce clutter in medical imaging, to measure the anisotropy of the scattering source, and to improve the detection of blood flow. These techniques rely on correlation estimates that are obtained using computationally expensive strategies. In this paper, we assess the existing spatial coherence estimation methods and propose three computationally efficient modifications: a reduced kernel, a downsampled receive aperture, and the use of an ensemble correlation coefficient. The proposed methods are implemented in simulation and in vivo studies. Reducing the kernel to a single sample improved computational throughput and improved axial resolution. Downsampling the receive aperture was found to have negligible effect on estimator variance, and improved computational throughput by an order of magnitude for a downsample factor of 4. The ensemble correlation estimator demonstrated lower variance than the currently used average correlation. Combining the three methods, the throughput was improved 105-fold in simulation with a downsample factor of 4- and 20-fold in vivo with a downsample factor of 2.
Hyun, D; Crowley, ALC; Dahl, JJ
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