In Vivo Blood Velocity Vector Imaging Using Adaptive Velocity Compounding in the Carotid Artery Bifurcation

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2019 Jul;45(7):1691-1707. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2019.03.008. Epub 2019 May 9.


Visualization and quantification of blood flow are considered important for early detection of atherosclerosis and patient-specific diagnosis and intervention. As conventional Doppler imaging is limited to 1-D velocity estimates, 2-D and 3-D techniques are being developed. We introduce an adaptive velocity compounding technique that estimates the 2-D velocity vector field using predominantly axial displacements estimated by speckle tracking from dual-angle plane wave acquisitions. Straight-vessel experiments with a 7.8-MHz linear array transducer connected to a Verasonics Vantage ultrasound system revealed that the technique performed with a maximum velocity magnitude bias and angle bias of -3.7% (2.8% standard deviation) and -0.16° (0.41° standard deviation), respectively. In vivo, complex flow patterns were visualized in two healthy and three diseased carotid arteries and quantified using a vector complexity measure that increased with increasing wall irregularity. This measure could potentially be a relevant clinical parameter which might aid in early detection of atherosclerosis.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Blood velocity estimation; Cardiovascular disease; Carotid artery; Complex flow; Doppler imaging; Plane wave imaging; Vascular ultrasound; Vector velocity imaging; Velocity compounding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Arteries / physiopathology
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler / methods*