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Ultrasound Med Biol. 2009 May;35(5):773-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2008.10.017. Epub 2009 Feb 24.

Temperature measurement by thermal strain imaging with diagnostic power ultrasound, with potential for thermal index determination.

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School of Engineering, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.


Over the years, there has been a substantial increase in acoustic exposure in diagnostic ultrasound as new imaging modalities with higher intensities and frame rates have been introduced; and more electronic components have been packed into the probe head, so that there is a tendency for it to become hotter. With respect to potential thermal effects, including those which may be hazardous occurring during ultrasound scanning, there is a correspondingly growing need for in vivo techniques to guide the operator as to the actual temperature rise occurring in the examined tissues. Therefore, an in vivo temperature estimator would be of considerable practical value. The commonly-used method of tissue thermal index (TI) measurement with a hydrophone in water could underestimate the actual value of TI (in one report by as much as 2.9 times). To obtain meaningful results, it is necessary to map the temperature elevation in 2-D (or 3-D) space. We present methodology, results and validation of a 2-D spatial and temporal thermal strain ultrasound temperature estimation technique in phantoms, and its apparently novel application in tracking the evolution of heat deposition at diagnostic exposure levels. The same ultrasound probe is used for both transmission and reception. The displacement and thermal strain estimation methods are similar to those used in high-intensity focused ultrasound thermal monitoring. The use of radiofrequency signals permits the application of cross correlation as a similarity measurement for tracking feature displacement. The displacement is used to calculate the thermal strain directly related to the temperature rise. Good agreement was observed between the temperature rise and the ultrasound power and scan duration. Thermal strain up to 1.4% was observed during 4000-s scan. Based on the results obtained for the temperature range studied in this work, the technique demonstrates potential for applicability in phantom (and possibly in vivo tissue) temperature measurement for the determination of TI.

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