Basic physical principles of ultrasound

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Ahmed Zaghw, M.D. [2]

Sound Waves

  • Ultrasound uses high frequency energy to create sound waves, characterized by
    • frequency: number of cycles per second (Hz)
    • wavelength: distance between excitations (mm)
    • amplitude: height of sound wave (decibels)

Ultrasound And Tissue Interaction

  • Reflection
    • occurs when an ultrasound wave hits tissue. Part of the wave is reflected back to the transducer
    • tissues with greater density reflect a greater portion of the beam
    • tissues at a 90 degree angle to the beam reflect a greater portion of the beam
  • Acoustic impedance
    • tissues can be defined by their individual acoustic impedance
    • AI = density x acoustic velocity
  • Scatter
    • small structures lead to scattering of the ultrasound signal
    • scattering radiates the beam in all directions, very little reaches back to the transducer
  • refraction: ultrasound waves can be deflected as they pass into a medium of different acoustic impedance
  • Attenuation
    • when sound travels through a medium, intensity diminishes with distance
    • caused by absorption of the energy by the tissues, and conversion to heat
    • also affected by acoustic impedance and mismatch in impedance between adjacent structures

Ultrasound Set-Up

  • Energy source
  • Transducer
It converts the electrical pulses to vibrations and returned vibrations back to electrical pulses
  • Piezoelectric crystals
  • It is found inside the transducer
  • It compresses and expand the electric current that is applied, generating a sound wave
  • Same crystals also act as receivers. An electric current is generated when a reflected wave hits a crystal.

Image formation: based on the time interval between the ultrasound transmission and the arrival of the sound wave back to the transducer

Resolution

  • Axial- along the length of the ultrasound beam
  • Lateral- side to side resolution of the 2D image
  • Elevational- the thickness of the tomographic slice

Basics of Echocardiography

Basics of Echocardiography-Part 1

Basics of Echocardiography-Part 1-Series 1


Basics of Echocardiography-Part 1-Series 2

Basics of Echocardiography-Part 2

Basics of Echocardiography-Part 2--Series 1


Basics of Echocardiography-Part 2--Series 2

Fetal Echocardiography

A Descriptive Case Presentation

  • A Descriptive Case Presentation

Transposition

  • Transposition

Fetal Cardiac Myxoma

  • Fetal Cardiac Myxoma

The Guide to Pediatric Echocardiography

Pediatric Echocardiography

References


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