Better, faster, higher and cheaper with ultrasound for diagnosis of cardiovascular disease and cancer

November 30, 2018
Versione stampabile

Date & Time: November 30, h. 13:30 
Venue: Via Sommarive 5 - Polo Ferrari 1 (Povo, TN) - Room A221


  • Prof. Chris De Korte, Radboud University, the Netherlands


Recent developments in computer processing and hardware are revolutionising ultrasound imaging. The diagnostic performance of high-end ultrasound systems is improved by these developments and allows functional imaging in 3D. Developments in transducer technology facilitates 3D imaging as well as ultra-broadband and high frequency ultrasound imaging. Additionally, cheap transducers connected to laptops or smart phones allow basic ultrasound scanning for a very affordable price. In this lecture, the focus will be on cardiovascular as well as oncological applications of US imaging.

Quantification of plaque compositions and the remaining velocity profile is crucial for adequate therapy in atherosclerotic disease. We developed high frame rate methods for characterisation of the arterial wall, plaques and flow. First, we developed a compound strain imaging technique in which the carotid is imaged at a combination of large beam steered angles to fully quantify the 2D strain vector. The presence of high strain regions is considered to be related to rupture prone spots of the plaque. Currently, we are transferring this technique from 2D to 3D by combining compound strain imaging with high frame rate imaging. Additionally, push wave elastography for transverse vessel cross-sections is being developed. In this technique, a shear-like wave is generated by an ultrasound push and its circumferential propagation is captured by high frame rate imaging. Since the propagation behavior of the shear-like wave is directly related to the modulus of the arterial wall and plaque it provides information on the plaque composition. Finally, we utilised compound imaging to quantify the 2D blood velocity vector. By acquiring over 10.000 fps at two beam steered angles, the full 2D velocity vector can be determined. This technology has proven to provide superior velocity estimates over the full range of slow to high velocity values. Application of this technology in a realistic bifurcation phantom and initial experience in vivo shows that turbulent flow patterns can be characterised.

Ultrasound imaging is used for breast cancer detection in women with dense breast in which mammography shows a reduced sensitivity by the higher amount of glandular tissue. Since hand-held ultrasound is operator dependent, the automated breast volume scanner (ABVS) was introduced that consists of a linear array transducer that is translated motor-controlled over the breast while collecting ultrasound data to reconstruct a volumetric breast image. Although clinical studies show high sensitivity, clinicians report high recall-rates due to the detection of many lesions of uncertain malignant potential. Compared to benign lesions, malignant lesions are often stiffer, and more grown into the surrounding tissue (firmly bonded) resulting in decreased strains inside, and shear strain around the lesion respectively. We extended 2D strain imaging to full 3D strain imaging using an Automated Breast Volume Scanning (ABVS) system by incorporating strain imaging in combination with ultrafast plane wave imaging. Validation studies in a breast phantom reveals the feasibility of this technique to identify lesions based on strain and quantify the lesion bonding by shear strain imaging.

About the Speaker

Chris L. de Korte is Full Professor Medical Ultrasound Techniques. Since 2012, he is chair of the Medical UltraSound Imaging Centre at the Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine of Radboud university medical centre. His research is on functional imaging using Ultrasound with a focus on cardiovascular applications. For his research he receives several grants from the Dutch Technology Foundation (STW) and a VENI (2000), VIDI (2006) and VICI (2011) grant from The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). He studied Electrical Engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology. In 1999, he obtained his Ph.D. at the Biomedical Engineering Group of the Thoraxcentre, Erasmus University Rotterdam on his thesis Intravascular Ultrasound Elastography. In 2002 he joined the Clinical Physics Laboratory, Department of Pediatrics of the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center of which he became head in 2004. In 2006 he was registered as Medical Physicist. Prof. de Korte is president of the Netherlands Society for Medical Ultrasound (NVMU) and national delegate of the European Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (EFSUMB). He is associate editor for IEEE Transactions UFFC and the Journal of Medical Ultrasonics. He serves as editorial board member of Ultrasound In Medicine and Biology and the Journal of the British Medical Ultrasound Society and the Technical Program Committee of the International IEEE Ultrasonics Conferences.

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