Objectives: In the article we describe the new, high frequency, 20 MHz scanning/Doppler probe designed to measure the flow mediated dilation (FMD) and shear rate (SR) close to the radial artery wall. Methods: We compare two US scanning systems, standard vascular modality working below 12 MHz and high frequency 20 MHz system designed for FMD and SR measurements. Axial resolutions of both systems were compared by imaging of two closely spaced food plastic foils immersed in water and by measuring systolic/diastolic diameter changes in the radial artery. The sensitivities of Doppler modalities were also determined. The diagnostic potential of a high frequency system in measurements of FMD and SR was studied in vivo, in two groups of subjects, 12 healthy volunteers and 14 patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD). Results: Over three times better axial resolution was demonstrated for a high frequency system. Also, the sensitivity of the external single transducer 20 MHz pulse Doppler proved to be over 20 dB better (in terms of a signal-to-noise ratio) than the pulse Doppler incorporated into the linear array. Statistically significant differences in FMD and FMD/SR values for healthy volunteers and CAD patients were confirmed, p-values < 0:05. The areas under Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curves for FMD and FMD/SR for the prediction CAD had the values of 0.99 and 0.97, respectively. Conclusions: These results justify the usefulness of the designed high-frequency scanning system to determine the FMD and SR in the radial artery as predictors of coronary arterial disease.
The use of therapeutic ultrasound continues to grow. A focused ultrasonic wave can increase the tissue temperature locally for the non-invasive cancer treatment or other medical applications. The authors have designed a seven-element annular array transducer operating at 2.4 MHz. Each element was excited by sine burst supplied by a linear amplifier and FPGA control circuits. The acoustic field, generated by a transducer was initially numerically simulated in a computer and next compared to water tank hydrophone measurements performed at 20, 40 and 60 mm focal depth. The results showed good agreement of the measurements with theory and the possibility to focus the ultrasound in the preselected area. The total acoustic power radiated by the annular array was equal to 2.4 W.
Recently a new technology of piezoelectric transducers based on PZT thick film has been developed as a response to a call for devices working at higher frequencies suitable for production in large numbers at low cost. Eight PZT thick film based focused transducers with resonant frequency close to 40 MHz were fabricated and experimentally investigated. The PZT thick films were deposited on acoustically engineered ceramic substrates by pad printing. Considering high frequency and non-linear propagation it has been decided to evaluate the axial pressure field emitted (and reflected by thick metal plate) by each of concave transducer differing in radius of curvature - 11 mm, 12 mm, 15 mm, 16 mm. All transducers were activated using AVTEC AVG-3A-PS transmitter and Ritec diplexer connected directly to Agilent 54641D oscilloscope. As anticipated, in all cases the focal distance was up to 10% closer to the transducer face than the one related to the curvature radius. Axial pressure distributions were also compared to the calculated ones (with the experimentally determined boundary conditions) using the angular spectrum method including nonlinear propagation in water. The computed results are in a very good agreement with the experimental ones. The transducers were excited with Golay coded sequences at 35-40 MHz. Introducing the coded excitation allowed replacing the short-burst transmission at 20 MHz with the same peak amplitude pressure, but with almost double center frequency, resulting in considerably better axial resolution. The thick films exhibited at least 30% bandwidth broadening comparing to the standard PZ 27 transducer, resulting in an increase in matching filtering output by a factor of 1.4-1.5 and finally resulting in a SNR gain of the same order.