Nonlinear contrast imaging with an array-based micro-ultrasound system
A. Needles, M. Arditi, N. G. Rognin, J. Mehi, T. Coulthard, C. Bilan-Tracey, E. Gaud, P. Frinking, D. Hirson, F. S. Foster
The main goal of this study was to determine the optimal strategy for a real-time nonlinear contrast mode for small-animal imaging at high frequencies, on a new array-based micro-ultrasound system. Previously reported contrast imaging at frequencies above 15 MHz has primarily relied on subtraction schemes involving B-mode image data. These approaches provide insufficient contrast to tissue ratios under many imaging conditions. In this work, pulse inversion, amplitude modulation and combinations of these were systematically investigated for the detection of nonlinear fundamental and subharmonic signal components to maximize contrast-to-tissue ratio (CTR) in the 18-24 MHz range. From in vitro and in vivo measurements, nonlinear fundamental detection with amplitude modulation provided optimal results, allowing an improvement in CTR of 13 dB compared with fundamental imaging. Based on this detection scheme, in vivo parametric images of murine kidneys were generated using sequences of nonlinear contrast images after intravenous bolus injections of microbubble suspensions. Initial parametric images of peak enhancement (PE), wash-in rate (WiR) and rise time (RT) are presented. The parametric images are indicative of blood perfusion kinetics, which, in the context of preclinical imaging with small animals, are anticipated to provide valuable insights into the progression of human disease models, where blood perfusion plays a critical role in either the diagnosis or treatment of the disease. ?? 2010 World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology.