Vector Flow Visualization of Urinary Flow Dynamics in a Bladder Outlet Obstruction Model

Takuro Ishii, Billy Y.S. Yiu, Alfred C.H. Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Voiding dysfunction that results from bladder outlet (BO) obstruction is known to alter significantly the dynamics of urine passage through the urinary tract. To non-invasively image this phenomenon on a time-resolved basis, we pursued the first application of a recently developed flow visualization technique called vector projectile imaging (VPI) that can track the spatiotemporal dynamics of flow vector fields at a frame rate of 10,000 fps (based on plane wave excitation and least-squares Doppler vector estimation principles). For this investigation, we designed a new anthropomorphic urethral tract phantom to reconstruct urinary flow dynamics under controlled conditions (300 mm H2O inlet pressure and atmospheric outlet pressure). Both a normal model and a diseased model with BO obstruction were developed for experimentation. VPI cine loops were derived from these urinary flow phantoms. Results show that VPI is capable of depicting differences in the flow dynamics of normal and diseased urinary tracts. In the case with BO obstruction, VPI depicted the presence of BO flow jet and vortices in the prostatic urethra. The corresponding spatial-maximum flow velocity magnitude was estimated to be 2.43 m/s, and it is significantly faster than that for the normal model (1.52 m/s) and is in line with values derived from computational fluid dynamics simulations. Overall, this investigation demonstrates the feasibility of using vector flow visualization techniques to non-invasively examine internal flow characteristics related to voiding dysfunction in the urethral tract.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2601-2610
Number of pages10
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov
Externally publishedYes


  • Doppler ultrasound
  • High frame rate imaging
  • Urinary flow
  • Urinary tract phantom
  • Vector flow visualization
  • Voiding dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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