Noise Suppression for Ultrasound Attenuation Coefficient Estimation based on Spectrum Normalization

Ping Gong, Pengfei Song, Chengwu Huang, U. Wai Lok, Shanshan Tang, Chenyun Zhou, Yang Lulu, Kymberly Watt, Matthew Callstrom, Shigao Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Ultrasound attenuation coefficient estimation (ACE) has great diagnostic potential for fatty liver detection and assessment. In a previous study, we proposed a reference-phantom-free ACE method, called reference frequency method (RFM), which does not require a calibrated phantom for normalization. The power of each frequency component can be normalized by the power of an adjacent frequency component in the spectrum to cancel system-dependent effects such as focusing and time gain compensation (TGC). RFM demonstrated accurate ACE in both phantom and in in-vivo liver studies. However, our study also showed that the robustness and penetration of RFM were affected by noise in the ACE signals. Here we propose a noise suppression and a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) quality control method to reduce the influence of noise on ACE-RFM performance. The proposed methods were tested in harmonic ACE because harmonic imaging is a more frequently used mode than fundamental imaging for abdominal applications. After applying the noise suppression and SNR control methods, the noise-induced bias for attenuation estimation in harmonic ACE was effectively reduced, leading to significantly improved effective penetration depth. The proposed methods directly measure the noise spectrum of the ultrasound system, which can also be adapted to other spectrum-based ACE methods, such as the reference phantom method and the spectra shift method.

Keywords

  • Attenuation
  • Frequency estimation
  • Frequency measurement
  • Imaging
  • Liver
  • Signal to noise ratio
  • Ultrasonic imaging
  • Ultrasound attenuation coefficient estimation (ACE)
  • effective penetration depth improvement
  • frequency power spectra decay
  • noise suppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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