Background: Quantitative blood flow (QBF) measurements that use pulsed-wave US rely on difficult-to-meet conditions. Imaging biomarkers need to be quantitative and user and machine independent. Surrogate markers (eg, resistive index) fail to quantify actual volumetric flow. Standardization is possible, but relies on collaboration between users, manufacturers, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Purpose: To evaluate a Quantitative Imaging Biomarkers Alliance–supported, user- and machine-independent US method for quantitatively measuring QBF. Materials and Methods: In this prospective study (March 2017 to March 2019), three different clinical US scanners were used to benchmark QBF in a calibrated flow phantom at three different laboratories each. Testing conditions involved changes in flow rate (1–12 mL/sec), imaging depth (2.5–7 cm), color flow gain (0%–100%), and flow past a stenosis. Each condition was performed under constant and pulsatile flow at 60 beats per minute, thus yielding eight distinct testing conditions. QBF was computed from three-dimensional color flow velocity, power, and scan geometry by using Gauss theorem. Statistical analysis was performed between systems and between laboratories. Systems and laboratories were anonymized when reporting results. Results: For systems 1, 2, and 3, flow rate for constant and pulsatile flow was measured, respectively, with biases of 3.5% and 24.9%, 3.0% and 2.1%, and 222.1% and 210.9%. Coefficients of variation were 6.9% and 7.7%, 3.3% and 8.2%, and 9.6% and 17.3%, respectively. For changes in imaging depth, biases were 3.7% and 27.2%, 22.0% and 20.9%, and 222.8% and 25.9%, respectively. Respective coefficients of variation were 10.0% and 9.2%, 4.6% and 6.9%, and 10.1% and 11.6%. For changes in color flow gain, biases after filling the lumen with color pixels were 6.3% and 18.5%, 8.5% and 9.0%, and 16.6% and 6.2%, respectively. Respective coefficients of variation were 10.8% and 4.3%, 7.3% and 6.7%, and 6.7% and 5.3%. Poststenotic flow biases were 1.8% and 31.2%, 5.7% and 23.1%, and 218.3% and 218.2%, respectively. Conclusion: Interlaboratory bias and variation of US-derived quantitative blood flow indicated its potential to become a clinical bio-marker for the blood supply to end organs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging