Measurement of Mechanical Properties of Soft Tissue with Ultrasound Vibrometry
The cardiovascular diseases atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, hypertension and heart failure have been related to stiffening of vessels and myocardium. Noninvasive measurements of mechanical properties of cardiovascular tissue would facilitate detection and treatment of disease in early stages, thus reducing mortality and possibly reducing cost of treatment. While techniques capable of measuring tissue elasticity have been reported, the knowledge of both elasticity and viscosity is necessary to fully characterize mechanical properties of soft tissues. In this article, we summarize the Shearwave Dispersion Ultrasound Vibrometry (SDUV) method developed by our group and report on advances made in characterizing stiffness of large vessels and myocardium. The method uses radiation forceFadiation force to excite shear waves in soft tissue and pulse echo ultrasound to measure the motion. The speed of propagation of shear waves at different frequencies is used to generate dispersions curves for excised porcine left-ventricular free-wall myocardium and carotid arteries. An antisymmetric Lamb wave model was fitted to the LV myocardium dispersion curves to obtain elasticity and viscosity moduli. The results suggest that the speed of shear wave propagation in four orthogonal directions on the surface of the excised myocardium is similar. These studies show that the SDUV method has potential for clinical application in noninvasive quantification of elasticity and viscosity of vessels and myocardium.
KeywordsTissue Elasticity Mechanical properties Radiation force Shear waves Myocardium Viscosity Sound speed Vessels Vibrometry Viscoelastic
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