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Objective: The objective of the study was to investigate whether clinically used ultrasonic contrast agents improved the accuracy of spectral Doppler ultrasound in the detection of low grade (< 50%) renal artery stenosis. Low grade stenoses in the renal artery are notoriously difficult to reliably detect using Doppler ultrasound due to difficulties such as overlying fat and bowel gas.
Methods: A range of anatomically-realistic renal artery phantoms with varying low degrees of stenosis (0, 30 and 50%) were constructed and peak velocity data was measured from within the pre-stenotic and mid-stenotic regions in each phantom, for both unenhanced and contrast-enhanced spectral Doppler data acquisitions. The effect of a 20mm overlying fat layer on the ultrasound beam distortion and phase aberration, and hence on the measured peak velocity data, was also investigated.
Results: The overlying fat layer produced a statistically significant underestimation (p
Conclusion: Contrast-enhanced Doppler ultrasound could significantly assist in the early detection of renal artery disease.
Browne, Jacinta E., et al. (2019) "An investigation of the detection capability of pulsed wave duplex Doppler of low grade stenosis using ultrasound contrast agent microbubbles–an in-vitro study." Ultrasonics 96(2019) 48-54. doi.org/10.1016/j.ultras.2019.04.003