Suppression of large intraluminal bubble expansion in shock wave lithotripsy without compromising stone comminution: methodology and in vitro experiments.
To reduce the potential of vascular injury without compromising the stone comminution capability of a Dornier HM-3 lithotripter, we have devised a method to suppress intraluminal bubble expansion via in situ pulse superposition. A thin shell ellipsoidal reflector insert was designed and fabricated to fit snugly into the original reflector of an HM-3 lithotripter. The inner surface of the reflector insert shares the same first focus with the original HM-3 reflector, but has its second focus located 5 mm proximal to the generator than that of the HM-3 reflector. With this modification, the original lithotripter shock wave is partitioned into a leading lithotripter pulse (peak positive pressure of 46 MPa and positive pulse duration of 1 micros at 24 kV) and an ensuing second compressive wave of 10 MPa peak pressure and 2 micros pulse duration, separated from each other by about 4 micros. Superposition of the two waves leads to a selective truncation of the trailing tensile component of the lithotripter shock wave, and consequently, a reduction in the maximum bubble expansion up to 41% compared to that produced by the original reflector. The pulse amplitude and -6 dB beam width of the leading lithotripter shock wave from the upgraded reflector at 24 kV are comparable to that produced by the original HM-3 reflector at 20 kV. At the lithotripter focus, while only about 30 shocks are needed to cause a rupture of a blood vessel phantom made of cellulose hollow fiber (i.d.=0.2 mm) using the original HM-3 reflector at 20 kV, no rupture could be produced after 200 shocks using the upgraded reflector at 24 kV. On the other hand, after 100 shocks the upgraded reflector at 24 kV can achieve a stone comminution efficiency of 22%, which is better than the 18% efficiency produced by the original reflector at 20 kV (p = 0.043). All together, it has been shown in vitro that the upgraded reflector can produce satisfactory stone comminution while significantly reducing the potential for vessel rupture in shock wave lithotripsy.
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