Nonlinear contrast agent imaging with intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) is investigated using a prototype IVUS system and an experimental small bubble contrast agent. The IVUS system employed a mechanically scanned single element transducer and was operated at a 20 MHz transmit frequency (F20) for second harmonic imaging (H40), and at a 40 MHz transmit frequency (F40) for subharmonic imaging (SH20). Characterization experiments were performed with agent and tissue phantom signals acquired during transducer rotation. The suppression of transmit frequency tissue signals was achieved using a combination of pulse-inversion and bandpass filtering. H40 was found to improve the contrast-to-tissue signal ratio (CTR) by up to 22 dB relative to F20, but suffered from tissue propagation harmonics at higher pressures (>0.3 MPa). SH20 was also shown to be possible at a range of pressures (∼0.25 to 1.8 MPa), with tissue signals suppressed to near the noise floor. Coronary phantom experiments demonstrated the detection of agent in 1 mm diameter vessels outside a larger 4 mm diameter vessel in which the IVUS catheter was situated. These results suggest the feasibility of harmonic IVUS contrast imaging, which may have applications in coronary lumen boundary detection and vasa vasorum imaging. (E-mail:

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Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology
Department of Cardiology

Goertz, D., Frijlink, M., de Jong, N., & van der Steen, T. (2006). Nonlinear intravascular ultrasound contrast imaging. Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology, 32(4), 491–502. doi:10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2006.01.001