Proc. SPIE. 6920, Medical Imaging 2008: Ultrasonic Imaging and Signal Processing
KEYWORDS: Detection and tracking algorithms, Doppler effect, Ultrasonography, Magnetic resonance imaging, Data acquisition, Blood circulation, In vivo imaging, Algorithm development, In vitro testing, Phase shifts
Color Doppler ultrasound imaging is a powerful non-invasive diagnostic tool for many clinical applications that involve
examining the anatomy and hemodynamics of human blood vessels. These clinical applications include cardio-vascular diseases, obstetrics, and abdominal diseases. Since its commercial introduction in the early eighties, color Doppler ultrasound imaging has been used mainly as a qualitative tool with very little attempts to quantify its images. Many imaging artifacts hinder the quantification of the color Doppler images, the most important of which is the aliasing
artifact that distorts the blood flow velocities measured by the color Doppler technique. In this work we will address the
color Doppler aliasing problem and present a recovery methodology for the true flow velocities from the aliased ones. The problem is formulated as a 2D phase-unwrapping problem, which is a well-defined problem with solid theoretical foundations for other imaging domains, including synthetic aperture radar and magnetic resonance imaging. This paper documents the need for a phase unwrapping algorithm for use in color Doppler ultrasound image analysis. It describes a new phase-unwrapping algorithm that relies on the recently developed cutline detection approaches. The algorithm is novel in its use of heuristic information provided by the ultrasound imaging modality to guide the phase unwrapping process. Experiments have been performed on both in-vitro flow-phantom data and in-vivo human blood flow data. Both data types were acquired under a controlled acquisition protocol developed to minimize the distortion of the color Doppler data and hence to simplify the phase-unwrapping task. In addition to the qualitative assessment of the results, a quantitative assessment approach was developed to measure the success of the results. The results of our new algorithm have been compared on ultrasound data to those from other well-known algorithms, and it outperforms all of them.