Unambiguous Identification and Visualization of an Acoustically Active Catheter by Ultrasound Imaging in Real Time: Theory, Algorithm, and Phantom Experiments

Viksit Kumar, Richard Liu, Randall R. Kinnick, Adriana Gregory, Azra Alizad, Marek Belohlavek, Mostafa Fatemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Objective: Ultrasound-guided biopsies and minimally invasive procedures have been used in numerous medical applications, including catheter guidance. The biggest challenge for catheter guidance by ultrasound lies in distinguishing the catheter from neighboring tissue, as well as the ability to differentiate the catheter body from its tip. Methods: In our previous work, we introduced a functional prototype of an acoustically active catheter, in which a miniature piezoelectric crystal allowed accurate localization of the catheter tip by pulsed wave (PW) Doppler imaging and Doppler spectrogram. In the current paper, the theory behind the symmetric Doppler shift due to the interaction of ultrasound wave with a vibrating piezoelectric crystal is explained. The theory is validated in an experimental continuous flow phantom setup. A novel algorithm, Symmetric frequency detection (SFD) algorithm is presented for identification and visualization of the catheter tip in real time along with B-mode and PW Doppler. Results: The catheter tip is identified with a distinct color differentiable from common Doppler colors with a frame rate varying from 22 to 50 Hz. The catheter tip can be visualized in a small region of 2.4 mm in the elevational direction. Conclusion: The algorithm can be implemented in most clinical ultrasound machines with minor additions to the PW Doppler processing algorithm. The algorithm is optimized to be robust for a variety of blood flow velocities and is shown to perform well when the signal from the blood is on par in amplitude with the catheter signal. Significance: Unambiguous and distinct visualization of catheter tip facilitates real-time tracking of the catheter tip aids minimally invasive procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
StateAccepted/In press - Sep 23 2017



  • acoustic
  • catheter
  • Catheters
  • Crystals
  • Doppler
  • Doppler shift
  • Imaging
  • navigation
  • real-time
  • Ultrasonic imaging
  • ultrasound guidance
  • vibration
  • Visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering

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