Abstract #86174 Published in IGR 21-2

In Vivo Visualization of Eye Vasculature Using Super-Resolution Ultrasound Microvessel Imaging

Qian X; Kang H; Li R; Lu G; Du Z; Shung KK; Humayun MS; Zhou Q
IEEE Transactions on Bio-Medical Engineering 2020; 67: 2870-2880

See also comment(s) by Toru Nakazawa

OBJECTIVE: The choroidal vessels, which supply oxygen and nutrient to the retina, may play a pivotal role in eye disease pathogenesis such as diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. In addition, the retrobulbar circulation that feeds the choroid shows an important pathophysiologic role in myopia and degenerative myopia. Owing to the light-absorbing retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and optically opaque sclera, choroidal and retrobulbar vasculature were difficult to be observed using clinically accepted optical coherence tomography angiography (OCT-A) technique. Here, we have developed super-resolution ultrasound microvessel imaging technique to visualize the deep ocular vasculature. METHODS: An 18-MHz linear array transducer with compounding plane wave imaging technique and contrast agent - microbubble was implemented in this study. The centroid intensity of each microbubble was detected using image deconvolution algorithm with spatially variant point spread function, and then accumulated in successive frames in order to reconstruct microvasculature. The image deconvolution technique was first evaluated in a simulation study and experimental flow phantoms. The performance was then validated on normal rabbit eyes in vivo. RESULTS: The image deconvolution based super-resolution ultrasound microvessel imaging technique shows good performance on either simulation study or flow phantoms. In vivo rabbit eye study indicated that the micron-level choroidal and retrobulbar vessels around the optic nerve head were successfully reconstructed in multiple 2D views and 3D volume imaging. CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate the capability of using super-resolution ultrasound microvessel imaging technique to image the microvasculature of the posterior pole of the eye. This efficient approach can potentially lead to a routinely performed diagnostic procedure in the field of ophthalmology.

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6.12 Ultrasonography and ultrasound biomicroscopy (Part of: 6 Clinical examination methods)
6.11 Bloodflow measurements (Part of: 6 Clinical examination methods)

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