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J. Imaging 2018, 4(12), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/jimaging4120145

Receive Beam-Steering and Clutter Reduction for Imaging the Speed-of-Sound Inside the Carotid Artery

1
Institute of Applied Physics, University of Bern, Sidlerstrasse 5, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
2
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, PO box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 November 2018 / Revised: 30 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomedical Photoacoustic Imaging: Technologies and Methods)
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Abstract

Handheld imaging of the tissue’s speed-of-sound (SoS) is a promising multimodal addition to diagnostic ultrasonography for the examination of tissue composition. Computed ultrasound tomography in echo mode (CUTE) probes the spatial distribution of SoS, conventionally via scanning the tissue under a varying angle of ultrasound transmission, and quantifying—in a spatially resolved way—phase variations of the beamformed echoes. So far, this technique is not applicable to imaging the lumen of vessels, where blood flow and tissue clutter inhibit phase tracking of the blood echoes. With the goal to enable the assessment of atherosclerotic plaque composition inside the carotid artery, we propose two modifications to CUTE: (a) use receive (Rx) beam-steering as opposed to transmit (Tx) beam-steering to increase acquisition speed and to reduce flow-related phase decorrelation, and (b) conduct pairwise subtraction of data obtained from repetitions of the scan sequence, to highlight blood echoes relative to static echo clutter and thus enable the phase tracking of blood echoes. These modifications were tested in a phantom study, where the echogenicity of the vessel lumen was chosen to be similar to the one of the background medium, which allows a direct comparison of SoS images obtained with the different techniques. Our results demonstrate that the combination of Rx-steering with the subtraction technique results in an SoS image of the same quality as obtained with conventional Tx-steering. Together with the improved acquisition speed, this makes the proposed technique a key step towards successful imaging of the SoS inside the carotid artery. View Full-Text
Keywords: ultrasound tomography; multimodal imaging; atherosclerosis; clutter reduction, plaque characterisation ultrasound tomography; multimodal imaging; atherosclerosis; clutter reduction, plaque characterisation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Kuriakose, M.; Muller, J.-W.; Stähli, P.; Frenz, M.; Jaeger, M. Receive Beam-Steering and Clutter Reduction for Imaging the Speed-of-Sound Inside the Carotid Artery. J. Imaging 2018, 4, 145.

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