Quantifying Image Quality Improvement Using Elevated Acoustic Output in B-Mode Harmonic Imaging.
Tissue harmonic imaging has been widely used in abdominal imaging because of its significant reduction in acoustic noise compared with fundamental imaging. However, tissue harmonic imaging can be limited by both signal-to-noise ratio and penetration depth during clinical imaging, resulting in decreased diagnostic utility. A logical approach would be to increase the source pressure, but the in situ pressures used in diagnostic ultrasound are subject to a de facto upper limit based on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration guideline for the mechanical index (<1.9). A recent American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine report concluded that an effective mechanical index ≤4.0 could be warranted without concern for increased risk of cavitation in non-fetal tissues without gas bodies, but would only be justified if there were a concurrent improvement in image quality and diagnostic utility. This work evaluates image quality differences between normal and elevated acoustic output hepatic harmonic imaging using a transmit frequency of 1.8 MHz. The results indicate that harmonic imaging using elevated acoustic output leads to modest improvements (3%-7%) in contrast-to-noise ratio of hypo-echoic hepatic vessels and increases in imaging penetration depth on the order of 4 mm per mechanical index increase of 0.1 for a given focal depth. Difficult-to-image patients who suffer from poor ultrasound image quality exhibited larger improvements than easy-to-image study participants.
Deng, Y; Palmeri, ML; Rouze, NC; Trahey, GE; Haystead, CM; Nightingale, KR
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