A new safety parameter for diagnostic ultrasound thermal bioeffects: safe use time

J Acoust Soc Am. 2009 Jun;125(6):3601-10. doi: 10.1121/1.3126525.


It is widely accepted that diagnostic ultrasound has the potential to elevate the temperature of tissue being scanned. Because both the maximum value of the temperature rise and the temporal profile of that rise are necessary to estimate the risk correctly, the temperature rise [DeltaT(t)] at an observation point for an exposure condition is presumed to have two components, that is, DeltaT(t)=DeltaT(max)X(t). The amplitude component DeltaT(max) is the maximum value of DeltaT(t), and the exposure time component X(t) represents the time dependency of that DeltaT(t). Ninety-six cases were investigated to obtain the proposed DeltaT(t) model at six frequencies, four source diameters, and four f-numbers. Then, using the relative change in the rate of induction of a thermal effect due to ultrasound exposure that produces DeltaT(t) different from a threshold exposure, the safe use time (SUT) model was constructed. SUT informs the user of the maximum duration of exposure in a region at a particular output level that would be no more hazardous than scanning at the threshold exposure. Using the SUT model, high power ultrasound can be applied for a short time so that the user can improve imaging performance while staying within safe limits.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Computer Simulation
  • Equipment Safety
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Pregnancy
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Temperature*
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Time Factors
  • Ultrasonography / adverse effects
  • Ultrasonography / instrumentation*
  • Ultrasonography / methods*
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / adverse effects
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / instrumentation
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods