The pathological states of biological tissue are often resulted in attenuation changes. Thus, information about attenuating properties of tissue is valuable for the physician and could be useful in ultrasonic diagnosis. We are currently developing a technique for parametric imaging of attenuation and we intend to apply it for in vivo characterization of tissue. The attenuation estimation method based on the echoes mean frequency changes due to tissue attenuation dispersion, is presented. The Doppler IQ technique was adopted to estimate the mean frequency directly from the raw RF data. The Singular Spectrum Analysis technique was used for the extraction of mean frequency trends. These trends were converted into attenuation distribution and finally the parametric images were computed. In order to reduce variation of attenuation estimates the spatial compounding method was applied. Operation and accuracy of attenuation extracting procedure was verified by calculating the attenuation coefficient distribution using the data from the tissue phantom (DFS, Denmark) with uniform echogenicity while attenuation coefficient underwent variation.
The attenuating properties of biological tissue are of great importance in ultrasonic medical imaging. Investigations performed in vitro and in vivo showed the correlation between pathological changes in the tissue and variation of the attenuation coefficient. In order to estimate the attenuation we have used the downshift of mean frequency (fm) of the interrogating ultrasonic pulse propagating in the medium. To determine the fm along the propagation path we have applied the fm estimator (I/Q algorithm adopted from the Doppler mean frequency estimation technique). The mean-frequency shift trend was calculated using Single Spectrum Analysis. Next, the trends were converted into attenuation coefficient distributions and finally the parametric images were computed. The RF data were collected in simulations and experiments applying the synthetic aperture (SA) transmit-receiving scheme. In measurements the ultrasonic scanner enabling a full control of the transmission and reception was used. The resolution and accuracy of the method was verified using tissue mimicking phantom with uniform echogenicity but varying attenuation coefficient.
Commercially available cardiac scanners use 64–128 elements phased-array (PA) probes and classical delay-and-sum beamforming to reconstruct a sector B-mode image. For portable and hand-held scanners, which are the fastest growing market, channel count reduction can greatly decrease the total power and cost of devices. The introduction of ultra-fast imaging methods based on plane waves and diverging waves provides new insight into heart’s moving structures and enables the implementation of new myocardial assessment and advanced flow estimation methods, thanks to much higher frame rates. The goal of this study was to show the feasibility of reducing the channel count in the diverging wave synthetic aperture image reconstruction method for phased-arrays. The application of ultra-fast 32-channel subaperture imaging combined with spatial compounding allowed the frame rate of approximately 400 fps for 120 mm visualization to be achieved with image quality obtained on par with the classical 64-channel beamformer. Specifically, it was shown that the proposed method resulted in image quality metrics (lateral resolution, contrast and contrast-to-noise ratio), for a visualization depth not exceeding 50 mm, that were comparable with the classical PA beamforming. For larger visualization depths (80–100 mm) a slight degradation of the above parameters was observed. In conclusion, diverging wave phased-array imaging with reduced number of channels is a promising technology for low-cost, energy efficient hand-held cardiac scanners.
Ultrasonic methods of human body internal structures imaging are being continuously enhanced. New algorithms are created to improve certain output parameters. A synthetic aperture method (SA) is an example which allows to display images at higher frame-rate than in case of conventional beam-forming method. Higher computational complexity is a limitation of SA method and it can prevent from obtaining a desired reconstruction time. This problem can be solved by neglecting a part of data. Obviously it implies a decrease of imaging quality, however a proper data reduction technique would minimize the image degradation. A proposed way of data reduction can be used with synthetic transmit aperture method (STA) and it bases on an assumption that a signal obtained from any pair of transducers is the same, no matter which transducer transmits and which receives. According to this postulate, nearly a half of the data can be ignored without image quality decrease. The presented results of simulations and measurements with use of wire and tissue phantom prove that the proposed data reduction technique reduces the amount of data to be processed by half, while maintaining resolution and allowing only a small decrease of SNR and contrast of resulting images.
The soft tissue attenuation is an interesting parameter from medical point of view, because the value of attenuation coefficient is often related to the state of the tissue. Thus, the imaging of the attenuation coefficient distribution within the tissue could be a useful tool for ultrasonic medical diagnosis. The method of attenuation estimation based on tracking of the mean frequency changes in a backscattered signal is presented in this paper. The attenuation estimates are characterized by high variance due to stochastic character of the backscattered ultrasonic signal and some special methods must be added to data processing to improve the resulting images. The following paper presents the application of Spatial Compounding (SC), Frequency Compounding (FC) and the combination of both. The resulting parametric images are compared by means of root-mean-square errors. The results show that combined SC and FC techniques significantly improve the quality and accuracy of parametric images of attenuation distribution.