Materials and Methods: Fifteen healthy participants (six men; median age, 23 years [age range, 18–34 years]; median body mass index, 20.3 kg/m2 [range, 17.3–24.9 kg/m2]) underwent HFR CE US. US microbubbles were injected at incremental doses (0.25, 0.5, 0.75, and 1.5 mL), with each dose followed by US measurement to determine the optimal dosage. Different US mechanical index values were evaluated (0.09, 0.06, 0.03, and 0.01) in a diverging wave acquisition scheme. PIV analysis was performed via pairwise cross-correlation of all captured images. Participants also underwent phase-contrast MRI. The echo PIV and phase-contrast MRI velocity profiles were compared via calculation of similarity index and relative difference in peak velocity.
Results: Visualization of the aortic bifurcation with HFR CE US was successful in all participants. Optimal echo PIV results were achieved with the lowest contrast agent dose of 0.25 mL in combination with the lowest mechanical indexes (0.01 or 0.03). Substantial bubble destruction occurred at higher mechanical indexes (≥0.06). Flow patterns were qualitatively similar in the echo PIV and MR images. The echo PIV and MRI velocity profiles showed good agreement (similarity index, 0.98 and 0.99; difference in peak velocity, 8.5% and 17.0% in temporal and spatial profiles, respectively).
Conclusion: Quantification of blood flow in the human abdominal aorta with US particle image velocimetry (echo PIV) is feasible. Use of echo PIV has potential in the clinical evaluation of aortic disease.
- Contrast-enhanced ultrasound
- Particle Image Velocimetry
- Abdominal aorta