Objective: To devise a new urodynamic imaging framework that can provide time-resolved visualization of urinary flow and urethral deformation during the initiation phase of voiding. Materials and Methods: Contrast-enhanced urodynamic vector projectile imaging (CE-UroVPI) was devised using the principles of high-frame rate ultrasound, microbubble contrast agents, and flow vector mapping. CE-UroVPI was implemented using a research-purpose ultrasound scanner (5 MHz frequency) and commercial contrast agents (USphere Prime). The performance of CE-UroVPI was evaluated using 2 custom-designed deformable urethra phantoms - a healthy model and a diseased model with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) - that respectively simulate urodynamics in the urinary tract with and without mechanical obstruction. The corresponding spatiotemporal urodynamics were investigated and analyzed. Results: Using a frame rate of 1,250 fps that corresponds to 0.8 ms time resolution, CE-UroVPI effectively depicted the transient urodynamic events during the initiation phase of voiding. Anomalous spatiotemporal characteristics were observed in the urodynamics of the BPH-obstructed urethra. Specifically, upstream from the obstruction site, a transient surge in flow speed was observed in the first 100 ms of voiding. Also, downstream from the obstruction site, complex urodnyamics had emerged in the forms of flow jet and vortices. These anomalies were not found in the healthy urethra. Conclusion: CE-UroVPI is the first imaging framework that can visualize complex urodynamics over an entire voiding episode including its initiation phase. This new tool may be used to potentially gain new insight into the causal relationships between urethral morphokinetic factors and lower urinary tract symptoms.
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