Suppressing tissue clutter is an essential step in blood flow estimation and visualization, even when using ultrasound contrast agents. Blind source separation (BSS)-based clutter filter for high frame rate ultrasound imaging has been reported to perform better in tissue clutter suppression than the conventional frequency-based wall filter and nonlinear contrast pulsing schemes. The most notable BSS technique, singular value decomposition (SVD) has shown compelling results in cases of slow tissue motion. However, its performance degrades when the tissue motion is faster than the blood flow speed, conditions which are likely to occur when imaging the small vessels, such as in the myocardium. Independent component analysis (ICA) is another BSS technique that has been implemented as a clutter filter in the spatiotemporal domain. Instead, we propose to implement ICA in the spatial domain where motion should have less impact. In this work, we propose a clutter filter with the combination of SVD and ICA to improve the contrast-to-background ratio (CBR) in cases where tissue velocity is significantly faster than the flow speed. In an in vitro study, the range of fast tissue motion velocity was 5-25 mm/s and the range of flow speed was 1-12 mm/s. Our results show that the combination of ICA and SVD yields 7 - 10 dB higher CBR than SVD alone, especially in the tissue high-velocity range. The improvement is crucial for cardiac imaging where relatively fast myocardial motions are expected.
|Number of pages||1|
|Journal||IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 20 May 2022|
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