Accuracy and reproducibility of a novel dynamic volume flow measurement method

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2013 Oct;39(10):1903-14. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2013.04.017. Epub 2013 Jul 9.


In clinical practice, blood volume flow (BVF) is typically calculated assuming a perfect parabolic and axisymmetric velocity distribution. This simple approach cannot account for the complex flow configurations that are produced by vessel curvatures, pulsatility and diameter changes and, therefore, results in a poor estimation. Application of the Womersley model allows compensation for the flow distortion caused by pulsatility and, with some adjustment, the effects of slight curvatures, but several problems remain unanswered. Two- and three-dimensional approaches can acquire the actual velocity field over the whole vessel section, but are typically affected by a limited temporal resolution. The multigate technique allows acquisition of the actual velocity profile over a line intersecting the vessel lumen and, when coupled with a suitable wall-tracking method, can offer the ideal trade-off among attainable accuracy, temporal resolution and required calculation power. In this article, we describe a BVF measurement method based on the multigate spectral Doppler and a B-mode edge detector algorithm for wall-position tracking. The method has been extensively tested on the research platform ULA-OP, with more than 1700 phantom measurements at flow rates between 60 and 750 mL/min, steering angles between 10 ° and 22 ° and constant, sinusoidal or pulsed flow trends. In the averaged BVF measurement, we found an underestimation of about -5% and a coefficient of variability (CV) less than 6%. In instantaneous measurements (e.g., systolic peak) the CV was in the range 2%-8.5%. These results were confirmed by a preliminary test on the common carotid artery of 10 volunteers (CV = 2%-11%).

Keywords: Blood volume flow; Diameter measurement; Multigate spectral Doppler; Quantitative flow assessment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology
  • Blood Volume / physiology*
  • Blood Volume Determination / methods*
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Arteries / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler / methods*