Haemolysis of Red Blood Cells In Vitro and In Vivo Induced by Ultrasound at 0.75 MHz and at Therapeutic Intensity Levels

  • Y. S. Wong
  • D. J. Watmough


The physical mechanisms by which ultrasound can modify or damage biological materials has been comprehensively discussed by Nyborg(1). These include microstreaming, thermal effects and a range of cavitation type phenomena. It is well known that an acoustically excited bubble can cause haemolysis of red cells(2). The shearing stresses on the red cells caused by associated microstreaming is sufficient to damage cell membranes. Release of haemoglobin causes changes in optical absorbance when the treated samples are subsequently measured by spectrophotometry. Nyborg(1) and others have remarked that there is little information on cavitation in bulk animal tissues which are characteristically opaque. The objective of the work described here was to direct ultrasound from an unmodified therapeutic generator (Sonacel, Rank Stanley, Cox, Ware, Hertfordshire, England) at the hearts of small animals in an attempt to detect or exclude haemolysis in vivo. The need for this investigation arises from the now widespread use of ultrasound as a therapeutic agent to treat a variety of conditions(3). Furthermore, there is considerable interest in the possibility of treating malignant tumors with focussed or overlapping ultrasound fields(4) with a view to producing local hyperthermia. Clearly it is vital to know if there are likely to be any untoward side-effects arising from such treatment.


Aortic Arch Spatial Average Potassium Iodide Therapeutic Ultrasound Potassium Iodide Solution 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    W.L. Nyborp, Physical mechanisms for biological effects of ultrasound, HEW publication (FDA) 78–8062 (1978).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    J.A. Rooney, Haemolysis near an ultrasonically pulsating gas bubble, Sicence 169: 869–871 (1970).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    J.F. Lehmann and A.W. Guy, Ultrasound therapy, in “Interaction of Ultrasound and Biological Tissues”, J.M. Reid and M.R. Sikov, eds., DHEW publication (FDA) 73–8008 (1972), pp. 141–152.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    G.M. Hahn and D. Pounds, Heat treatment of solid tumors: why and how, Applied Radiol. Sept./Oct. 131–144 (1976).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    G. Kossoff, The measurement of peak acoustic intensity generated by pulsed ultrasonic equipment, Ultrasonics 7: 249–251 (1969).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    A. Weissler, H.W. Cooper and S. Snyder, Chemical effects of ultrasonic waves; oxidation of potassium iodide solution by carbon tetrachloride, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 72: 1769–1775 (1950).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    D.J. Watmough, B. Pratt, M. Mallard and J.R. Mallard, The Biophysical effects of therapeutic ultrasound in vivo, V International Conference on Meidcal Physics, Jerusalem, Israel (1979).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. S. Wong
    • 1
  • D. J. Watmough
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Bio-Medical Physics and Bio-EngineeringUniversity of AberdeenFosterhill, AberdeenScotland

Personalised recommendations