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Ultrasound Med Biol. 2013 Feb;39(2):360-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2012.09.005. Epub 2012 Dec 4.

Imaging two-dimensional mechanical waves of skeletal muscle contraction.

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1
Department of Biomedical Engineering-R&D, Radiation Sciences, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden. christer.gronlund@vll.se

Abstract

Skeletal muscle contraction is related to rapid mechanical shortening and thickening. Recently, specialized ultrasound systems have been applied to demonstrate and quantify transient tissue velocities and one-dimensional (1-D) propagation of mechanical waves during muscle contraction. Such waves could potentially provide novel information on musculoskeletal characteristics, function and disorders. In this work, we demonstrate two-dimensional (2-D) mechanical wave imaging following the skeletal muscle contraction. B-mode image acquisition during multiple consecutive electrostimulations, speckle-tracking and a time-stamp sorting protocol were used to obtain 1.4 kHz frame rate 2-D tissue velocity imaging of the biceps brachii muscle contraction. The results present novel information on tissue velocity profiles and mechanical wave propagation. In particular, counter-propagating compressional and shear waves in the longitudinal direction were observed in the contracting tissue (speed 2.8-4.4 m/s) and a compressional wave in the transverse direction of the non-contracting muscle tissue (1.2-1.9 m/s). In conclusion, analysing transient 2-D tissue velocity allows simultaneous assessment of both active and passive muscle tissue properties.

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