Maximum Likelihood Blood Velocity Estimator Incorporating Properties of Flow Physics

Malene Schlaikjer, Jørgen Arendt Jensen

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The aspect of correlation among the blood velocities in time and space has not received much attention in previous blood velocity estimators. The theory of fluid mechanics predicts this property of the blood flow. Additionally, most estimators based on a cross-correlation analysis are limited on the maximum velocity detectable. This is due to the occurrence of multiple peaks in the cross-correlation function. In this study a new estimator (CMLE), which is based on correlation (C) properties inherited from fluid flow and maximum likelihood estimation (MLE), is derived and evaluated an a set of simulated and in vivo data from the carotid artery. The estimator is meant for two-dimensional (2-D) color flow imaging. The resulting mathematical relation for the estimator consists of two terms. The first term performs a cross-correlation analysis on the signal segment in the radio frequency (RF)-data under investigation. The flow physic properties are exploited in the second term, as the range of velocity values investigated in the cross-correlation analysis are compared to the velocity estimates in the temporal and spatial neighborhood of the signal segment under investigation. The new estimator has been compared to the cross-correlation (CC) estimator and the previously developed maximum likelihood estimator (MLE). The results show that the CMLE can handle a larger velocity search range and is capable of estimating even low velocity levels from tissue motion. The CC and the MLE produce incorrect velocity estimates due to the multiple peaks, when the velocity search range is increased above the maximum detectable velocity. The root-mean square error (RMS) on the velocity estimates for the simulated data is on the order of 7 cm/s (14%) for the CMLE, and it is comparable to the RMS for the CC and the MLE. When the velocity search range is set to twice the limit of the CC and the MLE, the number of incorrect velocity estimates are 0, 19.1, and 7.2% for the CMLE, CC, and MLE, respectively. The ability to handle a larger search range and estimating low velocity levels was confirmed on in vivo data.
Original languageEnglish
JournalI E E E Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)80-92
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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