Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) uses the esophagus as an imaging window to the heart. This enables cardiac imaging without interference from the ribs or lungs and allows for higher frequency ultrasound to be used compared with transthoracic echocardiography (TTE). TEE facilitates the successful imaging of obese or elderly patients, where TTE may be unable to produce images of satisfactory quality. Recently, three-dimensional (3-D) TEE has been introduced, which greatly improves the image quality and diagnostic value of TEE by adding an extra dimension. Further improvement could be achieved by optimizing 3-D TEE for harmonic imaging. This article describes the optimal geometry and element configuration for a matrix probe for 3-D second harmonic TEE. The array concept features separated transmit and receive subarrays. The element geometry was studied using finite element modeling and a transmit subarray prototype was examined both acoustically and with laser interferometry. The transmit subarray is suitable for its role, with a 3 MHz resonance frequency, a 40%-50% -3 dB bandwidth and crosstalk levels <-27 dB. The proposed concept for the receive subarray has a 5.6 MHz center frequency and a 50% -3 dB bandwidth.

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Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology
Department of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery

van Neer, P., Blaak, H., Bosch, H., Lancée, C., Prins, C., van der Steen, T., & de Jong, N. (2012). Mode Vibrations of a Matrix Transducer for Three-Dimensional Second Harmonic Transesophageal Echocardiography. Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology, 38(10), 1820–1832. doi:10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2012.06.007