Noninvasive vascular displacement estimation for relative elastic modulus reconstruction in transversal imaging planes

H.H.G. Hansen, M.S. Richards, M.M. Doyley and C.L. de Korte

Sensors 2013;13:3341-3357

DOI PMID

Abstract

Atherosclerotic plaque rupture can initiate stroke or myocardial infarction. Lipid-rich plaques with thin fibrous caps have a higher risk to rupture than fibrotic plaques. Elastic moduli differ for lipid-rich and fibrous tissue and can be reconstructed using tissue displacements estimated from intravascular ultrasound radiofrequency (RF) data acquisitions. This study investigated if modulus reconstruction is possible for noninvasive RF acquisitions of vessels in transverse imaging planes using an iterative 2D cross-correlation based displacement estimation algorithm. Furthermore, since it is known that displacements can be improved by compounding of displacements estimated at various beam steering angles, we compared the performance of the modulus reconstruction with and without compounding. For the comparison, simulated and experimental RF data were generated of various vessel-mimicking phantoms. Reconstruction errors were less than 10 which seems adequate for distinguishing lipid-rich from fibrous tissue. Compounding outperformed single-angle reconstruction: the interquartile range of the reconstructed moduli for the various homogeneous phantom layers was approximately two times smaller. Additionally, the estimated lateral displacements were a factor of 2-3 better matched to the displacements corresponding to the reconstructed modulus distribution. Thus, noninvasive elastic modulus reconstruction is possible for transverse vessel cross sections using this cross-correlation method and is more accurate with compounding.