Ultrasonic imaging is widely used to monitor fetal growth and development during the first and second trimester, and multiple studies document the resultant positive impacts on fetal and maternal outcomes. However, current methods fail to provide adequate visualization of key structures in many patients, and alternative imaging modes are rarely available to these patients. We have developed novel ultrasonic beamforming methods that, instead of imaging echo brightness, display the spatial coherence of backscattered echoes. These methods, in simulation, phantom, and clinical studies, show markedly improved image quality over conventional ultrasonic images, especially in difficult-to-image patients. We propose to construct a real-time coherence imaging system on an advanced, commercially available diagnostic scanner. We will extend our theory of coherence imaging to 1.5D and 2D arrays and incorporate these arrays into our real-time imaging system. Clinical studies are proposed to assess the role of coherence imaging in key fetal diagnostic tasks in first trimester and second trimester scans. Quantitative image quality metrics and observer studies are proposed to compare B-mode and coherence images with an emphasis on difficult-to-image patients for whom current imaging methods fail. Related studies will measure the contribution of various sources of image degradation in fetal scans and compare image artifacts observed in conventional and coherence-based ultrasonic images. If successful, the proposed research could lead to a new class of ultrasonic beamforming methods that operate in imaging environments in which current methods fail.

Public Health Relevance

Ultrasonic imaging is used to monitor the health and development of the fetus during pregnancy. However, for many patients, the images are too noisy to see important structures in the mother and fetus. We propose to build an ultrasonic scanner that can image under noisy conditions and to test it on first and second trimester fetuses.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Research Project (R01)
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Biomedical Imaging Technology Study Section (BMIT)
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King, Randy Lee
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Duke University
Biomedical Engineering
Biomed Engr/Col Engr/Engr Sta
United States
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Bottenus, Nick (2018) Comparison of virtual source synthetic aperture beamforming with an element-based model. J Acoust Soc Am 143:2801
Kakkad, Vaibhav; LeFevre, Melissa; Roy Choudhury, Kingshuk et al. (2018) Effect of Transmit Beamforming on Clutter Levels in Transthoracic Echocardiography. Ultrason Imaging 40:215-231
Long, Will; Hyun, Dongwoon; Choudhury, Kingshuk Roy et al. (2018) Clinical Utility of Fetal Short-Lag Spatial Coherence Imaging. Ultrasound Med Biol 44:794-806
Long, Will; Bottenus, Nick; Trahey, Gregg E (2018) Lag-One Coherence as a Metric for Ultrasonic Image Quality. IEEE Trans Ultrason Ferroelectr Freq Control 65:1768-1780
Bottenus, Nick; Long, Will; Morgan, Matthew et al. (2018) Evaluation of Large-Aperture Imaging Through the ex Vivo Human Abdominal Wall. Ultrasound Med Biol 44:687-701
Bottenus, Nick (2018) Recovery of the Complete Data Set From Focused Transmit Beams. IEEE Trans Ultrason Ferroelectr Freq Control 65:30-38
Jakovljevic, Marko; Bottenus, Nick; Kuo, Lily et al. (2017) Blocked Elements in 1-D and 2-D Arrays-Part II: Compensation Methods as Applied to Large Coherent Apertures. IEEE Trans Ultrason Ferroelectr Freq Control 64:922-936
Heyde, Brecht; Bottenus, Nick; D'hooge, Jan et al. (2017) Evaluation of the Transverse Oscillation Technique for Cardiac Phased Array Imaging: A Theoretical Study. IEEE Trans Ultrason Ferroelectr Freq Control 64:320-334
Jakovljevic, Marko; Pinton, Gianmarco F; Dahl, Jeremy J et al. (2017) Blocked Elements in 1-D and 2-D Arrays-Part I: Detection and Basic Compensation on Simulated and In Vivo Targets. IEEE Trans Ultrason Ferroelectr Freq Control 64:910-921
Bottenus, Nick; Long, Will; Zhang, Haichong K et al. (2016) Feasibility of Swept Synthetic Aperture Ultrasound Imaging. IEEE Trans Med Imaging 35:1676-85

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