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Eur J Ultrasound. 2002 Nov;16(1-2):91-104.

Brain perfusion and ultrasonic imaging techniques.

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Department of Neurology, Ruhr-University Bochum, D-44791, Bochum, Germany.


Advances in neurosonology have generated several techniques of ultrasonic perfusion imaging employing ultrasound echo contrast agents (ECAs). Doppler imaging techniques cannot measure the low flow velocities that are associated with parenchymal perfusion. Ultrasonic perfusion imaging, therefore, is a combination of a contrast agent-specific ultrasound imaging technique (CAI) mode and a data acquisition and processing (DAP) technique that is suited to observe and evaluate the perfusion kinetics. The intensity in CAI images is a measure of ECA concentration but also depends on various other parameters, e.g. depth of examination. Moreover, ECAs can be destroyed by ultrasound, which is an artifact but can also be a feature. Thus, many different DAPs have been developed for certain CAI techniques, ECAs and target organs. Although substantial progress in ECA and CAI technology can be foreseen, ultrasound contrast imaging has yet to reliably differentiate between normal and pathological perfusion conditions. Destructive imaging techniques, such as contrast burst imaging (CBI) or time variance imaging (TVI), in combination with new DAP techniques provide sufficient signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for transcranial applications, and consider contrast agent kinetics and destruction to eliminate depth dependency and to calculate semi-quantitative parameters. Since ultrasound machines are widely accessible and cost-effective, ultrasonic perfusion imaging techniques should become supplementary standard perfusion imaging techniques in acute stroke diagnosis and monitoring. This paper gives an overview on different CAI and DAP techniques with special focus on recent innovations and their clinical potential.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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