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IEEE Trans Ultrason Ferroelectr Freq Control. 2015 Jul;62(7):1356-72. doi: 10.1109/TUFFC.2015.007062.

Coded excitation plane wave imaging for shear wave motion detection.


Plane wave imaging has greatly advanced the field of shear wave elastography thanks to its ultrafast imaging frame rate and the large field-of-view (FOV). However, plane wave imaging also has decreased penetration due to lack of transmit focusing, which makes it challenging to use plane waves for shear wave detection in deep tissues and in obese patients. This study investigated the feasibility of implementing coded excitation in plane wave imaging for shear wave detection, with the hypothesis that coded ultrasound signals can provide superior detection penetration and shear wave SNR compared with conventional ultrasound signals. Both phase encoding (Barker code) and frequency encoding (chirp code) methods were studied. A first phantom experiment showed an approximate penetration gain of 2 to 4 cm for the coded pulses. Two subsequent phantom studies showed that all coded pulses outperformed the conventional short imaging pulse by providing superior sensitivity to small motion and robustness to weak ultrasound signals. Finally, an in vivo liver case study on an obese subject (body mass index = 40) demonstrated the feasibility of using the proposed method for in vivo applications, and showed that all coded pulses could provide higher SNR shear wave signals than the conventional short pulse. These findings indicate that by using coded excitation shear wave detection, one can benefit from the ultrafast imaging frame rate and large FOV provided by plane wave imaging while preserving good penetration and shear wave signal quality, which is essential for obtaining robust shear elasticity measurements of tissue.

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