This paper investigates the use of coded excitation for blood flow estimation in medical ultrasound. Traditional autocorrelation estimators use narrow-band excitation signals to provide sufficient signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR) and velocity estimation performance. In this paper, broadband coded signals are used to increase SNR, followed by subband processing. The received broadband signal is filtered using a set of narrow-band filters. Estimating the velocity in each of the bands and averaging the results yields better performance compared with what would be possible when transmitting a narrow-band pulse directly. Also, the spatial resolution of the narrow-band pulse would be too poor for brightness-mode (B-mode) imaging, and additional transmissions would be required to update the B-mode image. For the described approach in the paper, there is no need for additional transmissions, because the excitation signal is broadband and has good spatial resolution after pulse compression. This means that time can be saved by using the same data for B-mode imaging and blood flow estimation. Two different coding schemes are used in this paper, Barker codes and Golay codes. The performance of the codes for velocity estimation is compared with a conventional approach transmitting a narrow-band pulse. The study was carried out using an experimental ultrasound scanner and a commercial linear array 7 MHz transducer. A circulating flow rig was scanned with a beam-to-flow angle of 60°. The flow in the rig was laminar and had a parabolic flow-profile with a peak velocity of 0.09 m/s. The mean relative standard deviation of the velocity estimate using the reference method with an 8-cycle excitation pulse at 7 MHz was 0.544% compared with the peak velocity in the rig. Two Barker codes were tested with a length of 5 and 13 bits, respectively. The corresponding mean relative standard deviations were 0.367% and 0.310%, respectively. For the Golay coded experiment, two 8-bit codes were used, and the mean relative standard deviation was 0.335%.
|Journal||IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|