Simultaneous Noise Suppression and Incoherent Artifact Reduction in Ultrafast Ultrasound Vascular Imaging

Chengwu Huang, Pengfei Song, Joshua D. Trzasko, Ping Gong, U. Wai Lok, Shanshan Tang, Armando Manduca, Shigao Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Ultrasound vascular imaging based on ultrafast plane wave imaging and singular value decomposition (SVD) clutter filtering has demonstrated superior sensitivity in blood flow detection. However, ultrafast ultrasound vascular imaging is susceptible to electronic noise due to the weak penetration of unfocused waves, leading to a lower signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) at larger depths. In addition, incoherent clutter artifacts originating from strong and moving tissue scatterers that cannot be completely removed create a strong mask on top of the blood signal that obscures the vessels. Herein, a method that can simultaneously suppress the background noise and incoherent artifacts is proposed. The method divides the tilted plane or diverging waves into two sub-groups. Coherent spatial compounding is performed within each sub-group, resulting in two compounded datasets. An SVD-based clutter filter is applied to each dataset, followed by a correlation between the two datasets to produce a vascular image. Uncorrelated noise and incoherent artifacts can be effectively suppressed with the correlation process, while the coherent blood signal can be preserved. The method was evaluated in wire-target simulations and phantom, in which around 7 dB to 10 dB SNR improvement was shown. Consistent results were found in a flow channel phantom with improved SNR by the proposed method (39.9 ± 0.2 dB) against conventional power Doppler (29.1 ± 0.6 dB). Last, we demonstrated the effectiveness of the method combined with block-wise SVD clutter filtering in a human liver, breast tumor and inflammatory bowel disease datasets. The improved blood flow visualization may facilitate more reliable small vessel imaging for a wide range of clinical applications, such as cancer and inflammatory diseases.

Keywords

  • Blood
  • Blood flow
  • Clutter
  • Correlation
  • Imaging
  • Signal to noise ratio
  • Ultrasonic imaging
  • Ultrasound small vessel imaging
  • artifact suppression
  • noise suppression
  • singular value decomposition (SVD)
  • ultrafast ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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