Exploiting flow dynamics for superresolution in contrast-enhanced ultrasound

Oren Solomon (Corresponding author), Ruud J.G. van Sloun, Hessel Wijkstra, Massimo Mischi, Yonina C. Eldar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
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Ultrasound (US) localization microscopy offers new radiation-free diagnostic tools for vascular imaging deep within the tissue. Sequential localization of echoes returned from inert microbubbles (MBs) with low concentration within the bloodstream reveals the vasculature with capillary resolution. Despite its high spatial resolution, low MB concentrations dictate the acquisition of tens of thousands of images, over the course of several seconds to tens of seconds, to produce a single superresolved image. Such long acquisition times and stringent constraints on MB concentration are undesirable in many clinical scenarios. To address these restrictions, sparsity-based approaches have recently been developed. These methods reduce the total acquisition time dramatically, while maintaining good spatial resolution in settings with considerable MB overlap. Here, we further improve the spatial resolution and visual vascular reconstruction quality of sparsity-based superresolution US imaging from low-frame rate acquisitions, by exploiting the inherent flow of MBs and utilize their motion kinematics. We also provide quantitative measurements of MB velocities and show that our approach achieves higher MB recall rate than the state-of-the-art techniques, while increasing contrast agents concentration. Our method relies on simultaneous tracking and sparsity-based detection of individual MBs in a frame-by-frame manner, and as such, may be suitable for real-time implementation. The effectiveness of the proposed approach is demonstrated on both simulations and an in vivo contrast-enhanced human prostate scan, acquired with a clinically approved scanner operating at a 10-Hz frame rate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8751992
Pages (from-to)1573-1586
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number10
Early online date1 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Compressed sensing
  • contrast agents
  • Kalman filter
  • superresolution
  • ultrasound (US)


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