It would be useful to measure the minute surface roughness of the carotid arterial wall to detect the early stage of atherosclerosis. In conventional ultrasonography, the axial resolution of a B-mode image depends on the ultrasonic wavelength of 150 μm at 10MHz because a B-mode image is constructed using the amplitude of the radio-frequency (RF) echo. Therefore, the surface roughness caused by atherosclerosis in an early stage cannot be measured using a conventional B-mode image obtained by ultrasonography because the roughness is 10-20 μm. We have realized accurate transcutaneous estimation of such a minute surface profile using the lateral motion of the carotid arterial wall, which is estimated by block matching of received ultrasonic signals. However, the width of the region where the surface profile is estimated depends on the magnitude of the lateral displacement of the carotid arterial wall (i.e., if the lateral displacement of the arterial wall is 1mm, the surface profile is estimated in a region of 1mm in width). In this study, the width was increased by combining surface profiles estimated using several ultrasonic beams. In the present study, we first measured a fine wire, whose diameter was 13 μm, using ultrasonic equipment to obtain an ultrasonic beam profile for determination of the optimal kernel size for block matching based on the correlation between RF echoes. Second, we estimated the lateral displacement and surface profile of a phantom, which had a saw tooth profile on its surface, and compared the surface profile measured by ultrasound with that measured by a laser profilometer. Finally, we estimated the lateral displacement and surface roughness of the carotid arterial wall of three healthy subjects (24-, 23-, and 23-year-old males) using the proposed method.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)