Uncontrolled bleeding threatens patients undergoing major surgery and in care for traumatic injury. This paper describes a novel method of diagnosing coagulation dysfunction by repeatedly measuring the shear modulus of a blood sample as it clots in vitro. Each measurement applies a high-energy ultrasound pulse to induce a shear wave within a rigid walled chamber, and then uses low energy ultrasound pulses to measure displacements associated with the resonance of that shear wave. Measured displacements are correlated with predictions from finite difference time domain models, with the best fit corresponding to the modulus estimate. In our current implementation each measurement requires 62.4 ms. Experimental data was analyzed using a fixed-viscosity algorithm and a free-viscosity algorithm. In experiments utilizing human blood induced to clot by exposure to kaolin, the free-viscosity algorithm quantified the shear modulus of formed clots with a worst-case precision of 2.5%. Precision was improved to 1.8% by utilizing the fixed-viscosity algorithm. Repeated measurements showed a smooth evolution from liquid blood to a firm clot with a shear modulus between 1.4 and 3.3 kPa. These results show the promise of this technique for rapid, point of care assessment of coagulation.
Keywords: Coagulation; FDTD; Resonance; Shear modulus; Shear waves; Ultrasound.