Vascular Flow Imaging

Background

In recent years, echo particle image velocimetry (ePIV), also known as ultrasound particle image Velocimetry (uPIV), has shown to be able to map flow velocity distribution in vivo. The technique provides valuable information about blood flow and flow induced stress on vessel wall for studying cardiovascular diseases. Using sequential ultrasound B-mode (or contrast specific) images, uPIV technique tracks either individual flow tracer (e.g. microbubble contrast agents) or speckle patterns within blood vessels in order to obtain local velocity vectors using cross-correlation, filtering, interpolation and other data analysis techniques.
Comparing to existing techniques such as optical PIV, Ultrasound Doppler or phase-contrast magnetic resonance imaging, uPIV has many advantages including: capable of imaging in turbid media (tissue), being angle independent and having high temporal resolution.

vascular_flow_fig1

Challenges

Although in vitro validation and some clinical applications of uPIV have been reported, the accuracy of the method to provide quantitative measurement is still limited due to e.g., the high dynamic range of the velocities to be measured, loss of information when acquiring in 2D for 3D structures, and for most existing clinical system, a relatively slow and line-by-line image acquisition.
Research

Investigation of errors in velocity estimation

In most existing clinical ultrasound imaging system an image is produced through line-by-line data acquisition. Such “beam sweeping” can introduce errors/biases to flow velocity estimation. We have investigated the significance of such errors under various flow and scanning conditions (Zhou et al. Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, in press).
Next generation of uPIV – simulation and experiments

The state-of art of ultrasound imaging system to provide a high temporal resolution is being investigated. The quantitative measurement of conventional scanning ultrasound and some more advanced techniques such as Synthetic Aperture and Plane Wave Imaging are being investigated in both simulation and experiments to provide the highest possible accuracy, temporal and spatial resolution in PIV analysis. Both numerical and physical flow phantoms are developed for investigating the uPIV system.

In vivo application

The developed techniques will be applied to in vivo applications in order to study various cardiovascular diseases. The following Figure2 shows some initial in vivo results [1].

vascular_flow_fig2

References
  1. Chee Hau Leow, Eleni Bazigou, Robert J. Eckersley, Alfred C.H. Yu, Peter D. Weinberg, Meng-Xing Tang, Flow Velocity Mapping Using Contrast Enhanced High-Frame-Rate Plane Wave Ultrasound and Image Tracking: Methods and Initial in Vitro and in Vivo Evaluation, Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology, Volume 41, Issue 11, November 2015, Pages 2913-2925,