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J Acoust Soc Am. 2013 Aug;134(2):1548-58. doi: 10.1121/1.4812876.

A heuristic model of stone comminution in shock wave lithotripsy.

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  • 1Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708, USA.


A heuristic model is presented to describe the overall progression of stone comminution in shock wave lithotripsy (SWL), accounting for the effects of shock wave dose and the average peak pressure, P+(avg), incident on the stone during the treatment. The model is developed through adaptation of the Weibull theory for brittle fracture, incorporating threshold values in dose and P+(avg) that are required to initiate fragmentation. The model is validated against experimental data of stone comminution from two stone types (hard and soft BegoStone) obtained at various positions in lithotripter fields produced by two shock wave sources of different beam width and pulse profile both in water and in 1,3-butanediol (which suppresses cavitation). Subsequently, the model is used to assess the performance of a newly developed acoustic lens for electromagnetic lithotripters in comparison with its original counterpart both under static and simulated respiratory motion. The results have demonstrated the predictive value of this heuristic model in elucidating the physical basis for improved performance of the new lens. The model also provides a rationale for the selection of SWL treatment protocols to achieve effective stone comminution without elevating the risk of tissue injury.

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