Simultaneous Vascular Strain and Blood Vector Velocity Imaging Using High-Frequency Versus Conventional-Frequency Plane Wave Ultrasound: A Phantom Study.

S. Fekkes, A. Saris, M. Nillesen, J. Menssen, H. Hansen and C. de Korte




Plaque strain and blood vector velocity imaging of stenosed arteries are expected to aid in diagnosis and prevention of cerebrovascular disease. Ultrafast plane wave imaging enables simultaneous strain and velocity estimation. Multiple ultrasound vendors are introducing high-frequency ultrasound probes and systems. This paper investigates whether the use of high-frequency ultrafast ultrasound is beneficial for assessing blood velocities and strain in arteries. The performance of strain and blood flow velocity estimation was compared between a high-frequency transducer (MS250, fc = 21 MHz) and a clinically utilized transducer (L12-5, fc = 9 MHz). Quantitative analysis based on straight tube phantom experiments revealed that the MS250 outperformed the L12-5 in the superficial region: low velocities near the wall were more accurately estimated and wall strains were better resolved. At greater than 2-cm echo depth, the L12-5 performed better due to the high attenuation of the MS250 probe. Qualitative comparison using a perfused patient-specific carotid bifurcation phantom confirmed these findings. Thus, in conclusion, for strain and blood velocity estimation for depths up to ~2 cm, a high-frequency probe is recommended.