Cardiovascular applications of therapeutic ultrasound

  • Babak Nazer
  • Edward P Gerstenfeld
  • Akiko Hata
  • Lawrence A Crum
  • Thomas J Matula


Ultrasound (US) has gained widespread use in diagnostic cardiovascular applications. At amplitudes and frequencies typical of diagnostic use, its biomechanical effects on tissue are largely negligible. However, these parameters can be altered to harness US’s thermal and non-thermal effects for therapeutic indications. High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) and extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ECWT) are two therapeutic US modalities which have been investigated for treating cardiac arrhythmias and ischemic heart disease, respectively. Here, we review the biomechanical effects of HIFU and ECWT, their potential therapeutic mechanisms, and pre-clinical and clinical studies demonstrating their efficacy and safety limitations. Furthermore, we discuss other potential clinical applications of therapeutic US and areas in which future research is needed.


Ultrasound Atrial fibrillation Ablation Angiogenesis 



The authors would like to acknowledge Dr. Hong Chen for her hard work obtaining microscopic images of cavitation phenomena. The authors would also like to thank Camilo Perez and Dr. Wayne Kreider for their help with HIFU and SWT illustrations.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Babak Nazer
    • 1
  • Edward P Gerstenfeld
    • 1
  • Akiko Hata
    • 2
  • Lawrence A Crum
    • 3
  • Thomas J Matula
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of CardiologyUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Cardiovascular Research InstituteUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.Applied Physics LaboratoryUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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