Axially-segmented cylindrical array for intravascular shear wave imaging


We have fabricated a cylindrical intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) transducer array prototype capable of generating an acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) for shear wave elasticity imaging (SWEI). The prototype array was a 4-mm long, 2.5-mm diameter, 4 MHz PZT-8 tube, axially segmented into 12 elements on a 334 μm pitch. This transducer array was used in custom vessel phantoms and in ex vivo porcine artery experiments to investigate the potential for IVUS SWEI to distinguish soft lipid cores from stiffer surrounding tissues. By using this array transducer to generate a radially-directed ARFI "push", and a Verasonics linear array probe to track displacements in planes parallel to the "push", SWEI images of a vessel phantom with hard vessel walls and a soft inclusion were obtained. In tissue-mimicking phantoms, focusing the transducer array to a range of 5 mm generated ARFI displacements up to 1.36 and 1.76 times greater than unfocused excitations in the soft and stiff regions, respectively. The measured shear wave speed in the soft inclusion and stiff vessel wall was 0.97±0.59 m/s and 1.66±0.91 m/s, respectively, and was close to the calibrated measurements of 1.21±0.05 m/s and 1.56±0.05 m/s, respectively. A SWEI image of an ex vivo porcine renal artery was obtained using the prototype transducer and external tracking array, and showed an average shear wave speed of 3.97±1.12 m/s. These results demonstrate the potential of this IVUS array to enable SWEI, to quantifiably assess vulnerable vascular plaques.

Publication Title

Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE