Wall shear rate (WSR) is the derivative of blood velocity with respect to vessel radius at the endothelial surface. The product of WSR and blood viscosity is the wall shear stress (WSS) that must remain relatively high to maintain normal endothelial cell function, arterial health and prevent plaque formation. Accurate WSR estimation requires the lowest possible variance and bias for blood velocity estimates near the wall. This situation is achieved for conditions where the echo signal-to-noise ratio (eSNR) and spatial resolution for velocity are high. We transmitted coded pulses, i.e., those with time-bandwidth product greater than 1, to increase eSNR from weak blood scatter without increasing instantaneous power or reducing spatial resolution. This paper is a summary of WSR measurements from a flow phantom where a variety of acoustic pulses were transmitted: frequencymodulated (FM) codes and phase-modulated (PM) codes were compared with uncoded broadband and narrow band pulse transmissions. Both simulation and experimental results show that coded-pulse excitation increases accuracy and precision in WSR estimation when compared to standard pulsing techniques. Additionally, PM codes can reduce WSR errors more than FM codes for equal pulse energy. This reduction in WSR error could greatly extend the application of ultrasound in the study of cardiovascular disease.
We are summarizing new research aimed at forming spatially and temporally registered combinations of strain and color-flow images using echo data recorded from a commercial ultrasound system. Applications include diagnosis of vascular diseases and tumor malignancies. The challenge is to meet the diverse needs of each measurement. The approach is to first apply eigenfilters that separate echo components from moving tissues and blood flow, and then estimate blood velocity and tissue displacement from the filtered-IQ-signal phase modulations. At the cost of a lower acquisition frame rate, we find the autocorrelation strain estimator yields higher resolution strain estimate than the cross-correlator since estimates are made from ensembles at a single point in space. The technique is applied to in vivo carotid imaging, to demonstrate the sensitivity for strain-flow vascular imaging.