Occult Regions of Suppressed Coherence in Liver B-Mode Images.
Ultrasound is an essential tool for diagnosing and monitoring diseases, but it can be limited by poor image quality. Lag-one coherence (LOC) is an image quality metric that can be related to signal-to-noise ratio and contrast-to-noise ratio. In this study, we examine matched LOC and B-mode images of the liver to discern patterns of low image quality, as indicated by lower LOC values, occurring beneath the abdominal wall, near out-of-plane vessels and adjacent to hyperechoic targets such the liver capsule. These regions of suppressed coherence are often occult; they present as temporally stable uniform speckle on B-mode images, but the LOC measurements in these regions suggest substantially degraded image quality. Quantitative characterization of the coherence suppression beneath the abdominal wall reveals a consistent pattern both in simulations and in vivo; sharp drops in coherence occurring beneath the abdominal wall asymptotically recover to a stable coherence at depth. Simulation studies suggest that abdominal wall reverberation clutter contributes to the initial drop in coherence but does not influence the asymptotic LOC value. Clinical implications are considered for contrast loss in B-mode imaging and estimation errors for elastography and Doppler imaging.
Offerdahl, K; Huber, M; Long, W; Bottenus, N; Nelson, R; Trahey, G
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