Measurement of the ultrasonic properties of vascular tissues and blood from 35-65 MHz

Ultrasound Med Biol. 1991;17(7):653-66. doi: 10.1016/0301-5629(91)90096-f.


A 50 MHz ultrasound backscatter microscope has been built to measure the acoustic properties of vascular tissues and blood over the frequency range from 35-65 MHz. High resolution (45 microns) ultrasound backscatter microscope images of nine femoral and eight common carotid human artery samples were made and compared with corresponding histological sections. Individual tissue layers were selected using these images for quantitative measurement of the frequency dependent backscatter. Backscatter measurements were made in each layer of an artery at two different angles of incidence: along the axis of the artery (axial direction) and at 90 degrees to this measurement radially out from the center of the artery (radial direction). Scattering was found to be higher in elastic arteries (carotid) than in the muscular arteries (femoral). The largest difference was found in the media where the average scatter (measured in the radial direction at 50 MHz) increased from 0.002 sr-1 mm-1 in muscular arteries to 0.4 sr-1 mm-1 in elastic arteries. Large differences in scattering between measurements made in the axial and radial direction were also found. Again, the largest differences were found in the media where scattering (at 50 MHz) in carotid arteries increased from 0.003 sr-1 mm-1 measured in the axial direction to 0.4 sr-1 mm-1 measured in the radial direction. The speed of sound and attenuation in the artery wall of each sample were measured. Speed of sound measurements were found to range between 1579-1628 ms-1. The average attenuation in the artery wall increased from 4 dB mm-1 at 30 MHz to 10 dB mm-1 at 60 mHz. This is higher than the attenuation measured in blood which increased from 1.6 dB mm-1 to 5 dB mm-1 over the same frequency range. The backscatter coefficient for flowing blood was measured for flow velocities up to 36 cms-1. At flow velocities below 18 cms-1 a level of scattering of 0.0005 sr-1 mm-1 (at 50 MHz) was found. An increase in scattering of 1.6 times was measured when the flow velocity was increased to 36 cms-1. All measurements were made at 37 degrees C. The relevance of these results to clinical imaging and image interpretation is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arteriosclerosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Arteriosclerosis / pathology
  • Blood / diagnostic imaging*
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Arteries / cytology
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Femoral Artery / cytology
  • Femoral Artery / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Microscopy
  • Ultrasonography