Three-dimensional subharmonic ultrasound imaging in vitro and in vivo

John R. Eisenbrey, Anush Sridharan, Priscilla Machado, Hongjia Zhao, Valgerdur G. Halldorsdottir, Jaydev K. Dave, Ji Bin Liu, Suhyun Park, Scott Dianis, Kirk Wallace, Kai E. Thomenius, Flemming Forsberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Rationale and Objectives: Although contrast-enhanced ultrasound imaging techniques such as harmonic imaging (HI) have evolved to reduce tissue signals using the nonlinear properties of the contrast agent, levels of background suppression have been mixed. Subharmonic imaging (SHI) offers near complete tissue suppression by centering the receive bandwidth at half the transmitting frequency. The aims of this study were to demonstrate the feasibility of three-dimensional (3D) SHI and to compare it to 3D HI. Materials and Methods: Three-dimensional HI and SHI were implemented on a Logiq 9 ultrasound scanner with a 4D10L probe. Four-cycle SHI was implemented to transmit at 5.8 MHz and receive at 2.9 MHz, while two-cycle HI was implemented to transmit at 5 MHz and receive at 10 MHz. The ultrasound contrast agent Definity was imaged within a flow phantom and the lower pole of two canine kidneys in both HI and SHI modes. Contrast-to-tissue ratios and rendered images were compared offline. Results: SHI resulted in significant improvement in contrast-to-tissue ratios relative to HI both in vitro (12.11 ± 0.52 vs 2.67 ± 0.77, P < .001) and in vivo (5.74 ± 1.92 vs 2.40 ± 0.48, P = .04). Rendered 3D subharmonic images provided better tissue suppression and a greater overall view of vessels in a flow phantom and canine renal vasculature. Conclusions: The successful implementation of SHI in 3D allows imaging of vascular networks over a heterogeneous sample volume and should improve future diagnostic accuracy. Additionally, 3D SHI provides improved contrast-to-tissue ratios relative to 3D HI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)732-739
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Radiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • 3D imaging
  • Contrast-enhanced ultrasound
  • Subharmonic imaging
  • Ultrasound contrast agents


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