Red blood cell (RBC) aggregation, as one of the determinants of blood viscosity, plays an important role in blood rheology, including the condition of blood. RBC aggregation is induced by the adhesion of RBCs when the electrostatic repulsion between RBCs weakens owing to increases in protein and saturated fatty acid levels in blood, excessive RBC aggregation leads to various circulatory diseases. This study was conducted to establish a noninvasive quantitative method for assessment of RBC aggregation. The power spectrum of ultrasonic RF echoes from nonaggregating RBCs, which shows the frequency property of scattering, exhibits Rayleigh behavior. On the other hand, ultrasonic RF echoes from aggregating RBCs contain the components of reflection, which have no frequency dependence. By dividing the measured power spectrum of echoes from RBCs in the lumen by that of echoes from a posterior wall of the vein in the dorsum manus, the attenuation property of the propagating medium and the frequency responses of transmitting and receiving transducers are removed from the former spectrum. RBC aggregation was assessed by the diameter of a scatterer, which was estimated by minimizing the square difference between the measured normalized power spectrum and the theoretical power spectrum. In this study, spherical scatterers with diameters of 5, 11, 15, and 30 μm were measured in basic experiments. The estimated scatterer diameters were close to the actual diameters. Furthermore, the transient change of the scatterer diameters were measured in an in vivo experiment with respect to a 24-year-old healthy male during the avascularization using a cuff. The estimated diameters (12-22μm) of RBCs during avascularization were larger than the diameters (4-8 μm) at rest and after recirculation. These results show the possibility of the use of the proposed method for noninvasive assessment of RBC aggregation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)