JP4929409B2 - Ultrasonic diagnostic equipment - Google Patents

Ultrasonic diagnostic equipment Download PDF

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Publication number
JP4929409B2
JP4929409B2 JP2011122506A JP2011122506A JP4929409B2 JP 4929409 B2 JP4929409 B2 JP 4929409B2 JP 2011122506 A JP2011122506 A JP 2011122506A JP 2011122506 A JP2011122506 A JP 2011122506A JP 4929409 B2 JP4929409 B2 JP 4929409B2
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transmission
image
ultrasonic
means
diagnostic apparatus
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JP2011189175A (en
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哲也 吉田
直久 神山
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東芝メディカルシステムズ株式会社
株式会社東芝
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  The present invention relates to an ultrasound capable of presenting, as diagnostic information, a micro blood flow circulation at a capillary level and a fine structure of blood vessel blood flow relatively faster than a capillary blood vessel in contrast echocardiography performed using an ultrasonic contrast agent. The present invention relates to a diagnostic device.

  Ultrasound diagnosis can be obtained by real-time display of heart beats and fetal movements with a simple operation by simply touching the ultrasound probe from the body surface. Compared to diagnostic equipment such as CT and MRI, the system is small in scale, and it is easy to perform inspection while moving to the bedside.

  Ultrasound diagnostic devices vary depending on the types of functions they have, but small ones that can be carried with one hand have been developed, and the effects of exposure, such as X-rays, have been developed. Since it is not available, it can be used in obstetrics and home medical care.

  In recent years, intravenous administration-type ultrasound contrast agents have been commercialized and the “contrast echo method” has been performed. This method is intended to evaluate blood flow dynamics by injecting an ultrasound contrast agent from a vein, for example, in an examination of the heart, liver, or the like to enhance the blood flow signal. In many contrast agents, microbubbles function as a reflection source. Due to the sensitive nature of the bubble, the bubble is broken by the mechanical action of the ultrasonic wave at the normal diagnostic level, and as a result, the signal intensity from the scan plane decreases.

  Therefore, in order to observe the dynamic state of reflux in real time, it is necessary to reduce the collapse of bubbles due to scanning, such as imaging by irradiating low sound pressure ultrasonic waves. However, imaging by such low sound pressure ultrasonic irradiation reduces the signal / noise (S / N) ratio, and thus signal processing is necessary to compensate for it.

  Further, the following method has been devised taking advantage of the characteristic that bubbles collapse as described above. That is, when observing the dynamics of bubbles filling the scanning surface under low sound pressure irradiation, the irradiation sound pressure is switched to high sound pressure to collapse the bubbles in the scanning surface (strictly in the irradiation volume). This is a method for observing the state of bubbles flowing into the scan plane by switching the irradiation sound pressure to a low sound pressure again after stopping the high temperature pressure irradiation. This method is called a replenishment method (for example, see Patent Document 1).

  By the way, although an ultrasonic tomographic image is handled as a two-dimensional image, actually, a two-dimensional image is generated by irradiating ultrasonic waves in a certain direction to acquire one-dimensional information and repeatedly scanning it. . That is, one ultrasonic irradiation is performed one-dimensionally.

  Therefore, in recent years, by limiting the region irradiated with high sound pressure ultrasonic waves to the one-dimensional range of the diagnostic image, by collapsing only the bubbles in the local region in the diagnostic image, among the plurality of blood vessel images drawn, A technique has been developed to selectively eliminate only the bubbles flowing in a blood vessel.

Japanese Patent Laid-Open No. 11-155858

  However, even if only the one-dimensional range of the diagnostic image is limited to the region where the ultrasonic wave of high sound pressure is irradiated and only the bubbles in the local region in the diagnostic image are collapsed, the speed and amount of the contrast agent flowing in each blood vessel It was not possible to obtain an image that reflected.

  The present invention has been made in view of the above circumstances, and an object of the present invention is to provide an ultrasonic diagnosis that reflects the speed and amount of a contrast medium flowing in each blood vessel in the diagnosis of a minute blood vessel branch level. An object of the present invention is to provide an ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus capable of obtaining an image.

  In order to solve the problems and achieve the object, the ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus of the present invention is configured as follows.

An ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus for acquiring an ultrasonic diagnostic image by scanning a predetermined portion of a subject to which a contrast agent bubble is administered with an ultrasonic wave, and driving the ultrasonic probe and the ultrasonic probe, the subject Transmitting and receiving means for transmitting and receiving ultrasonic waves, and a sound pressure that does not destroy the contrast agent bubble in the first region of the predetermined region, and a sound that destroys the contrast agent bubble in the second region of the predetermined region A first transmission for transmitting each of the ultrasonic waves at a pressure is continuously executed, and after the first transmission, the ultrasonic waves are transmitted at a sound pressure that does not destroy the contrast agent bubble for the second region. Alternatively, the transmission of the ultrasonic wave is stopped, and the second transmission for transmitting the ultrasonic wave with a sound pressure that does not destroy the contrast agent bubble is performed for a period shorter than the period of the first transmission. Ream And the transmission / reception control means for continuously forming the first transmission again after the second transmission to form the contrast agent bubble lump, and the ultrasonic wave received by the transmission / reception means. An image generation means for generating an ultrasonic image based on an echo signal to be displayed; a display means for displaying the generated ultrasonic image; and a length of a period for continuously executing the second transmission, Setting means for setting an arbitrary period within a period shorter than that of the first transmission.

  According to the present invention, it is possible to obtain an image reflecting the speed and amount of a contrast medium flowing in each blood vessel in the diagnosis of a fine blood vessel branch level.

1 is a block diagram showing an ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus according to a first embodiment of the present invention. Schematic which shows the transmission / reception form of the ultrasonic pulse which concerns on the embodiment. Schematic which shows the ultrasonic tomographic image comprised by transmitting / receiving the ultrasonic pulse of the low sound pressure which concerns on the embodiment. The conceptual diagram which shows the parameter setting which concerns on the same embodiment. 6 is a flowchart showing a scan sequence according to the embodiment. Schematic which shows the ultrasonic tomographic image which concerns on the same embodiment. 9 is a flowchart showing a scan sequence according to the second embodiment of the present invention. Schematic which shows the difference image which concerns on the same embodiment. Schematic which shows the diagnostic image acquired by performing the maximum holding | maintenance calculation to the difference image which concerns on the embodiment. 10 is a flowchart showing a scan sequence according to the third embodiment of the present invention. 10 is a flowchart showing a scan sequence according to the fourth embodiment of the present invention. Schematic which shows the ultrasonic tomographic image which concerns on the same embodiment.

  Hereinafter, a first embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to FIGS.

  First, the configuration of the ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus of the present invention will be described with reference to FIG.

  FIG. 1 is a block diagram showing an ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus according to the first embodiment of the present invention.

  As shown in FIG. 1, the ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus includes an apparatus main body 10, an ultrasonic probe 12, an input device 13, and a monitor 14 (display means).

  Hereinafter, the function of each component will be described.

  The apparatus main body 10 includes a transmission / reception unit 21 (transmission / reception means), a B-mode processing unit 22, a Doppler processing unit 23, an image generation circuit 24 (image generation means), a control processor 25 (transmission / reception control means, image processing means), and an internal storage device. 26, an interface 29, and a storage unit 30.

  The transmission / reception unit 21, the B-mode processing unit 22, the Doppler processing unit 23, the image generation circuit 24, the control processor 25, the internal storage device 26, the interface 29, and the storage unit 30 may be configured by hardware such as an integrated circuit. However, it may be a software program modularized in software.

  The transmission / reception unit 21 has a trigger generation circuit, a delay circuit, a pulsar circuit, etc. (all not shown). The pulsar circuit repeatedly generates rate pulses for forming transmission ultrasonic waves at a predetermined rate frequency fr [Hz] (period is 1 / fr second). The delay circuit focuses the transmission ultrasonic wave into a beam shape for each channel, gives a delay time necessary to determine transmission directivity to each rate pulse, and generates an ultrasonic pulse for scanning the subject P. Form. By changing the delay information, the transmission direction of the ultrasonic pulse with respect to the transducer surface of the ultrasonic probe 12 can be arbitrarily adjusted. The trigger generation circuit applies a drive pulse to the ultrasonic probe 12 at a timing based on the rate pulse.

  The transmission / reception unit 21 has a function for executing a scan sequence (described later) in accordance with an instruction from the control processor 25, for example, a function for instantaneously changing delay information, transmission frequency, transmission drive voltage, and the like. In particular, the change of the transmission drive voltage is realized by a linear amplifier type transmission circuit whose value can be instantaneously switched or a mechanism for electrically switching a plurality of power supply units.

  The transmission / reception unit 21 includes an amplifier circuit, an A / D converter, an adder, and the like (all not shown). The amplifier circuit amplifies an echo signal (described later) captured from the ultrasonic probe 12 for each channel. The A / D converter provides a delay time necessary for determining the reception directivity for the amplified echo signal. The adder performs an addition process of echo signals given a delay time. By this addition, the reflection component from the direction corresponding to the reception directivity of the echo signal is emphasized, and a comprehensive beam for ultrasonic transmission / reception is formed by the reception directivity and the transmission directivity.

  The B-mode processing unit 22 performs logarithmic amplification, envelope detection processing, and the like on the echo signal received from the transmission / reception unit 21 to generate data in which the signal intensity is expressed by luminance. This data is sent to the image generation circuit 24, and is displayed on the monitor 14 as a B-mode image in which the intensity of the reflected wave is expressed by luminance.

  The Doppler processing unit 23 performs frequency analysis on velocity information based on the echo signal received from the transmission / reception unit 21, extracts blood flow, tissue, and contrast agent echo components due to the Doppler effect, and blood flow information such as average velocity, dispersion, and power. For multiple points. This blood flow information is sent to the image generation circuit 24 and displayed in color on the monitor 14 as an average velocity image, a dispersion image, a power image, and a combination image thereof.

  The image generation circuit 24 converts the scanning line signal sequence obtained by the scanning into a scanning line signal sequence of a general video format represented by a television or the like, and generates an ultrasonic tomographic image. Further, the image generation circuit 24 has a storage memory for storing image data, and for example, after diagnosis, an operator can call up an image recorded during the examination.

  The control processor 25 has a function as an information processing apparatus and controls all operations of the ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus. In particular, the control processor 25 stores a control program for executing ultrasonic transmission / reception, image generation, display, scan sequence (described later), difference calculation, maximum value holding calculation, average calculation, integration calculation, superimposed display, and the like. The data is read out from H.26 and expanded on the software storage unit 30b, and calculations and controls related to various processes are executed.

  The internal storage device 26 is a control program for executing ultrasonic transmission / reception, image generation, display, scan sequence, difference calculation, maximum value holding calculation, average calculation, integration calculation, superimposed display, and diagnostic information (for example, patient ID). , Doctor's findings, etc.), diagnostic protocols, transmission / reception conditions, and other data groups. Further, it is also used for storing images in the image memory 30a as required. Data stored in the internal storage device 26 can be transferred to an external peripheral device via the interface 29.

  The interface 29 is an interface related to the input device 13, the network, and a new external storage device (not shown). Data such as diagnostic images and analysis results obtained by the ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus can be transferred to another apparatus via the interface 29 and the network.

  The storage unit 30 includes an image memory 30a and a software storage unit 30b. The image memory 30 a includes a storage memory that stores image data received from the image generation circuit 24. This image data can be called by an operator after diagnosis, for example, and the called image data can be reproduced as a still image or as a moving image using a plurality of pieces of image data. Further, the image memory 30a receives an output signal (referred to as an “RF signal”) of the transmission / reception unit 21, an output signal of the B-mode processing unit 22, other raw data, image data acquired via a network, or the like as necessary. Remember. The software storage unit 30b performs necessary control for executing ultrasonic transmission / reception, image generation, display, scan sequence, difference calculation, maximum value holding calculation, average calculation, integration calculation, superimposed display, and the like. Memorize the program temporarily.

  The ultrasonic probe 12 has a plurality of piezoelectric vibrators that convert reflected waves from the subject P into electrical signals, an acoustic matching layer provided on the piezoelectric vibrator, and an ultrasonic wave propagating backward from the piezoelectric vibrator. It includes a backing material to be prevented, and generates transmission ultrasonic waves based on a drive signal from the transmission / reception unit 21.

  When ultrasonic waves are transmitted from the ultrasonic probe 12 to the subject P, the transmitted ultrasonic waves are reflected one after another on the discontinuous surface of the acoustic impedance in the subject P and received as an echo signal by the ultrasonic probe 12. Is done. The amplitude of this echo signal depends on the difference in acoustic impedance at the discontinuous surface that has been reflected. Further, when the transmitted ultrasonic pulse is reflected by a moving body such as a blood flow or a heart wall, the echo signal undergoes frequency shift according to the velocity component in the ultrasonic transmission direction of the moving body due to the Doppler effect.

  The input device 13 is connected to the device main body 10, and a track ball 13 a (setting) for taking various instructions, conditions, region of interest (ROI) setting instructions, various image quality condition setting instructions, etc. from the operator into the device main body 10. Means), various switches 13b, buttons 13c (timing instruction means), mouse 13d (setting means), keyboard 13e (setting means) and the like.

  The button 13c is for instructing the start of the scan sequence and for instructing the timing for stopping the transmission of a high sound pressure ultrasonic pulse (described later). Note that the transmission of the high sound pressure pulse may be stopped using the switch 13b or the like instead of the button 13c.

  The trackball 13a is for setting the transmission direction D of the high sound pressure ultrasonic pulse, and the mouse 13d is the stop time (predetermined time interval) of the high sound pressure ultrasonic pulse, the transmission range R, the number of stops, This is for setting the interval. Note that the keyboard 13e may be used in place of the mouse 13d to set the stop time, the transmission range R, the number of stops, and the interval between the high sound pressure ultrasonic pulses.

  The monitor 14 displays morphological information and blood flow information in the subject P as a diagnostic image based on the scanning line signal sequence in the video format obtained from the image generation circuit 24.

  Next, an operation when the ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus having the above-described configuration is used will be described with reference to FIGS.

(Assumption)
In the present embodiment, as a contrast agent to be administered to the subject P, a so-called “next-generation” capable of generating a harmonic signal and emitting a harmonic signal without destroying a bubble even when a low sound pressure ultrasonic wave is transmitted. “Contrast agent” is used. In addition, consideration is given to keeping the contrast medium concentration in the body constant over a relatively long period of time by using a continuous infusion pump or the like to administer a small amount of contrast medium in a constant amount.

(Ultrasonic pulse transmission mode)
FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram showing a form of transmission / reception of ultrasonic pulses according to the embodiment.

  As shown in FIG. 2A, when a normal B-mode image is generated, N times of ultrasonic transmission / reception is performed while changing the transmission / reception direction of the ultrasonic pulse by changing the delay information in the delay circuit. Then, an ultrasonic tomographic image for one frame is constructed based on the N scanning lines S1 obtained by the ultrasonic transmission / reception. Although there is a method for transmitting and receiving ultrasonic pulses continuously in one direction and obtaining one scanning line information, the purpose of generating a B-mode image is the same and is omitted here.

  On the other hand, as shown in FIG. 2B, when a B-mode image and an M-mode image are generated simultaneously, transmission / reception of ultrasonic pulses for generating a B-mode image is performed by changing delay information in the delay circuit. And 2N times of ultrasonic transmission / reception, alternately repeating transmission / reception of ultrasonic pulses for M-mode images. Then, an ultrasonic tomographic image for one frame is constructed based on N scanning lines S1 obtained by N ultrasonic transmissions / receptions for the B mode image, and N ultrasonic transmissions / receptions for the M mode image are performed. The time change information of the echo signal is configured based on the N scanning lines S2 obtained by the above.

  In this case, if the rate frequency (the number of transmission / reception of ultrasonic pulses performed at 1 [sec]) is fr [Hz], a B-mode image is generated at a rate of one sheet per 2 N / fr [sec]. Further, since the M-mode image obtains a reception signal in the same direction at a rate of once every 2 / fr [sec], it is possible to draw information that follows a very fast movement.

  In the present embodiment, the transmission / reception direction of the ultrasonic pulse for the M-mode image is set to a direction perpendicular to the transducer surface of the ultrasonic probe 12, but the present invention is not limited to this. Further, the ultrasonic transmission / reception for the B-mode image and the ultrasonic transmission / reception for the M-mode image are alternated, but this ratio can be arbitrarily changed.

(Drawing of blood vessel structure by ultrasonic pulse of low sound pressure)
FIG. 3 is a schematic view showing an ultrasonic tomographic image configured by transmitting and receiving a low sound pressure ultrasonic pulse according to the embodiment.

  In the present embodiment, first, the subject P is scanned with a low sound pressure ultrasonic pulse (first ultrasonic wave). In the present embodiment, as described above, as a contrast agent to be administered to the subject P, even if a low sound pressure ultrasonic pulse is transmitted, a bubble is not destroyed and a harmonic signal is emitted, and long-time imaging is performed. Possible so-called “next generation contrast agents” are used. Therefore, as shown in FIG. 3, when the subject P is scanned with an ultrasonic pulse with a low sound pressure, almost all blood vessel structures within the scan plane are depicted in an ultrasonic tomographic image.

(parameter settings)
FIG. 4 is a conceptual diagram showing parameter setting according to the embodiment.

  When the blood vessel structure is depicted on the ultrasonic tomographic image by scanning the subject P with the ultrasonic pulse of low sound pressure, the trackball 13a, the mouse 13d or the keyboard 13e is operated while viewing the blood vessel structure. As shown in FIG. 4, parameters necessary for executing the scan sequence are set.

  The parameters include a high sound pressure pulse (described later) transmission stop time, a high sound pressure pulse transmission frequency, a high sound pressure pulse transmission direction D, and a high sound pressure pulse transmission range R. What is important here is to set the stop time according to the blood flow velocity of the blood vessel, with the transmission direction D of the high sound pressure pulse directed to the trunk of the blood vessel where the blood flow state is to be viewed.

  For example, the blood flow velocity varies greatly depending on the type of blood vessel such that the blood flow velocity of the hepatic artery is about 20 [cm / sec] and the blood flow velocity of the portal vein is about 10 [cm / sec]. . In addition, if blood vessels are deleted, the blood flow velocity may be further increased. Therefore, if the same stop time is set for all blood vessels, a difference occurs in the length of the lump bubble b (described later).

  Therefore, in the present embodiment, the target blood flow velocity is considered to be about 5 [cm / sec] to 30 [cm / sec], and the length of the lump bubble b in consideration of visibility and the degree of diffusion. Is considered to be preferably about 0.3 [cm] to 10 [cm], and the stop time of the high sound pressure pulse can be adjusted within the range of 0.01 [sec] to 2 [sec].

  In the scan sequence according to the present embodiment, the target blood vessel is the hepatic artery, the stop time is 0.5 [sec], the transmission range R is three scanning lines, and the transmission frequency is 2 [MHz].

(Scan sequence)
FIG. 5 is a flowchart showing a scan sequence according to the embodiment, and FIG. 6 is a schematic view showing an ultrasonic tomographic image according to the embodiment.

  When the parameter setting necessary for executing the scan sequence is completed, the button 13c is pressed, and the sound pressure in the region A (hereinafter referred to as “irradiation region”) corresponding to three scanning lines with the transmission direction D as the center. Switch to high sound pressure where the bubble is substantially destroyed. As a result, scanning by an ultrasonic pulse in which a low sound pressure ultrasonic pulse (hereinafter referred to as “low sound pressure pulse”) and a high sound pressure ultrasonic pulse (hereinafter referred to as “high sound pressure pulse”) are mixed is started. (Step S11). An ultrasonic tomographic image at this time is shown in FIG. As shown in this figure, during transmission of a high sound pressure pulse, the sound pressure destroys the bubble existing in the irradiation region A. Blood flow information disappears.

  Next, the button 13c is pressed at a desired timing while viewing the ultrasonic tomographic image (step S12), and the transmission of the high sound pressure pulse is stopped (step S13). At this time, instead of stopping transmission of the high sound pressure pulse, a low sound pressure pulse may be transmitted. When the transmission of the high sound pressure pulse is stopped, the bubbles in the target blood vessel J begin to flow from the trunk K, and the blood flow information expands toward the downstream of the trunk K.

  Then, when 0.5 [sec] elapses after the transmission of the high sound pressure pulse is stopped (step S14), the transmission of the high sound pressure pulse is automatically resumed (step S15), and the low sound pressure pulse and the high sound pressure pulse are again transmitted. Scan with mixed start. An ultrasonic tomographic image at this time is shown in FIG. As shown in this figure, when the transmission of the high sound pressure pulse is resumed, the bubble existing in the irradiation area A is destroyed again, and the target blood vessel is stopped while the transmission of the high sound pressure pulse is stopped (0.5 [sec]). The portion of J that has flowed downstream of the trunk K is cut off from the upstream bubble of the trunk K, and becomes a small mass that flows downstream of the blood vessel.

  This small bubble b (hereinafter referred to as “bulk bubble”) is branched or diluted along the shape of the blood vessel as shown in FIG. Thereby, the operator can confirm the place where the blood flow is good or bad by seeing the state where the bubble b is branched or diluted on the ultrasonic tomographic image.

  When the desired blood flow information is obtained (YES in step S16), the scan sequence is terminated as it is (step S17). If the user wants to view the blood flow information again (NO in step S16), he / she presses the button 13c at a desired timing while viewing the ultrasonic tomographic image (step S12), and performs the same procedure as described above, thereby performing the lump bubble b. Can be seen repeatedly diverging and diluting.

  According to the ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus having the above-described configuration, a high sound pressure pulse is transmitted by 0.5 [sec] according to an instruction from an operator from a state where a high sound pressure pulse is transmitted to the trunk K of the target blood vessel J. Is stopped.

  As a result, when 0.5 [sec] has elapsed since the transmission of the high sound pressure pulse was stopped, a lump bubble b is formed on the downstream side of the trunk K of the target blood vessel J, and this lump bubble b branches off. The blood flow state in the target blood vessel J can be confirmed by observing the state and the state of dilution.

  Further, a button 13c is provided for instructing the input device 13 when to stop the high sound pressure pulse. Therefore, there is little time lag from when the operator instructs the timing until the transmission of the high sound pressure pulse is actually stopped, and blood flow information at the moment the operator desires can be obtained.

  In the present embodiment, an example in which transmission of a high sound pressure pulse is stopped only once is described, but the present invention is not limited to this. For example, if the number of high sound pressure pulses to be stopped and the stop interval can be set by operating the mouse 13d or the keyboard 13e, a plurality of mass bubbles b can be generated in the target blood vessel at predetermined intervals. By looking at the lump bubble b, it is possible to see how the branching and dilution states of the lump bubble b change over time.

  In this embodiment, since the target blood vessel is the hepatic artery, the stop time of the high sound pressure pulse is artificially set to 0.5 [sec] optimum for the hepatic artery. The velocity may be detected, and an optimal stop time for the target blood vessel may be calculated from the detected blood flow velocity.

  In addition, the transmission / reception unit 21 has a function of transmitting and receiving ultrasonic pulses three-dimensionally, and the image generation circuit 24 generates a three-dimensional image or a two-dimensional projection image of the three-dimensional image from the three-dimensional volume data. By providing the function to perform, more information can be obtained from the three-dimensional volume data received by the transmission / reception unit 21.

  Next, a second embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to FIGS.

  FIG. 7 is a flowchart showing a scan sequence according to the second embodiment of the present invention, and FIG. 8 is a schematic diagram showing a difference image according to the embodiment.

  As shown in FIG. 7, the scan sequence according to the present embodiment is obtained by further adding steps S21 and S22 (both will be described later) to the scan sequence according to the first embodiment. .

  That is, in the scan sequence according to the present embodiment, when the operator presses the button 13c (step S12), an image frame indicating the immediately preceding ultrasonic tomographic image is recorded as the reference image frame F0 (step S21). The reference image frame F0 is an image frame in a state where bubbles in the target blood vessel J are selectively lost by transmission of a high sound pressure pulse, as shown in FIG.

  When transmission of the high sound pressure pulse is started (step S15), a luminance difference calculation is performed between the reference image frame F0 and the image frames F1, F2,... Sequentially generated by the low sound pressure pulse scan. Applied. As a result, as shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B, difference image frames F1-F0, F2-F0,..., Extracted by extracting only the lump bubble b are generated (step S22). In this way, blood flow information other than the lump bubble b disappears from the ultrasonic tomographic image, so that it becomes easy to visually recognize how the lump bubble b is branched or diluted.

  Further, if the reference image frame F0 and the difference image frames F1-F0, F2-F0,... Are superimposed and displayed in different colors on the monitor 14, the vascular structure and the branching and dilution of the mass bubble b can be associated with each other. It becomes easy to visually recognize which blood vessel branch has a poor blood flow.

  It should be noted that when displaying the above-described difference image frames F1-F0, F2-F0,..., The brightness of pixels corresponding spatially in the image frame is compared, and the higher brightness is selectively displayed. A holding operation may be performed. If this maximum holding calculation is performed, as shown in FIG. 9, since the locus of the lump bubble b is visualized as a blood vessel structure, more information can be obtained.

  Further, when displaying the above-described difference image frames F1-F0, F2-F0,..., Luminance values of spatially corresponding pixels of the image frames F1, F2,. So-called integral calculation may be performed. If this integration operation is performed, the density of the mass bubble b in the blood vessel can be expressed by luminance.

  Further, when displaying the above-described difference image frames F1-F0, F2-F0,..., The so-called average value of the luminance values of the spatially corresponding pixels of the image frames F1, F2,. An average calculation may be performed. Even if this average calculation is performed, an effect similar to the integration calculation can be obtained.

  Next, a third embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to FIG.

  FIG. 10 is a flowchart showing a scan sequence according to the third embodiment of the present invention.

  As shown in FIG. 10, the scan sequence according to the present embodiment is obtained by further adding step S31 to the scan sequence according to the second embodiment.

  That is, in the scan sequence according to the present embodiment, the subject P is scanned with a high sound pressure pulse after the button 13c is pressed (step S12) and before the reference image frame F0 is recorded (step S21). (Step S31), all the bubbles existing in the scan plane are destroyed. As a result, a clear ultrasonic diagnostic image that is not obstructed by unnecessary blood flow information caused by these even if a bubble enters a peripheral portion of a blood vessel or a tissue can be acquired.

  Next, a fourth embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to FIGS. Here, the description of the same configuration and operation as in the above embodiment will be omitted.

  FIG. 11 is a flowchart showing a scan sequence according to the fourth embodiment of the present invention, and FIG. 12 is a schematic view showing an ultrasonic tomographic image according to the embodiment.

  In the present embodiment, the blood flow state is confirmed by observing a state where the mass void v is branched or diluted instead of the mass bubble b. Details will be described below.

(Scan sequence)
When the parameter setting for executing the scan sequence is completed, the button 13c is pressed to start scanning the subject P with the low sound pressure pulse (step S41). In the present embodiment, the same “next-generation contrast agent” as in the first embodiment is used. Therefore, as shown in FIG. 13, in the ultrasonic tomographic image acquired by this scan, almost all blood vessel structures in the scan plane are depicted.

  The parameters include a high sound pressure pulse transmission time (predetermined time interval), a high sound pressure pulse transmission frequency, a high sound pressure pulse transmission direction D, and a high sound pressure pulse transmission range R. In this embodiment, the transmission time is set to 0.5 [sec], the transmission range R is set to three scanning lines, and the transmission frequency is set to 2 [MHz] in correspondence with the parameters according to the first embodiment. Yes.

  When a blood vessel structure is depicted on the ultrasonic tomographic image by transmitting and receiving low sound pressure pulses, the button 13c is pressed at a desired timing while viewing this blood vessel structure (step S42), and the irradiation area A (with the transmission direction D as the center). Transmission of a high sound pressure pulse is started to the area A) corresponding to three scanning lines (step S43).

  An ultrasonic tomographic image at this time is shown in FIG. As shown in this figure, while a high sound pressure pulse is being transmitted, bubbles existing in the irradiation region A are destroyed by the sound pressure, so blood flow information is transferred from the trunk K of the target blood vessel J to the peripheral blood. The disappeared part is formed.

  Then, when 0.5 [sec] has elapsed since the transmission of the high sound pressure pulse (step S44), the transmission of the high sound pressure pulse is automatically stopped (step S45), and the scan using only the low sound pressure pulse is started again. The An ultrasonic tomographic image at this time is shown in FIG. As shown in this figure, when the transmission of the high sound pressure pulse is stopped, the blood flow information expands again to the downstream side of the trunk K of the target blood vessel J, and while the high sound pressure pulse is being transmitted (0. 5 [sec]), the portion where the blood flow information disappears becomes a small lump and moves downstream of the blood vessel.

  A portion v (hereinafter referred to as “lumb void”) in which blood flow information disappeared as a small mass branches or diffuses along the shape of the target blood vessel J as shown in FIG. Diluted by As a result, it is possible to confirm whether the blood flow state is good or bad by observing how the mass void v is branched or diluted in the ultrasonic tomographic image.

  When the desired information is obtained (YES in step S46), the scan sequence is finished as it is (step S47). When it is desired to view the blood flow information again (NO in step S46), the button 13c is pressed at a desired timing while viewing the ultrasonic tomographic image (step S42), and the same procedure is performed, so that the mass void v is again formed. You can see how it branches and dilutes.

  As in the present embodiment, the transmission of the high sound pressure pulse is started at a desired timing from the state where only the transmission of the low sound pressure pulse is performed, and after 0.5 [sec] has elapsed, the high sound pressure pulse is again transmitted. Even if the transmission is stopped, it is possible to visually recognize whether the blood flow in each blood vessel is good or bad as in the first embodiment by focusing on the mass void v consisting of the disappearance portion of the blood flow information. can do.

  Note that the trackball 13a and the mouse 13d or the keyboard 13e are used to set the irradiation area A of the high sound pressure pulse. However, the present invention is limited to this as long as the operator can easily operate while viewing the diagnostic image. It is not a thing.

  The present invention is not limited to the above-described embodiments as they are, and can be embodied by modifying the constituent elements without departing from the spirit of the invention in the stage of implementation. Further, various inventions can be formed by appropriately combining a plurality of constituent elements disclosed in the embodiment. For example, some components may be deleted from all the components shown in the embodiment. Furthermore, you may combine suitably the component covering different embodiment.

  DESCRIPTION OF SYMBOLS 12 ... Ultrasonic probe, 13a ... Track ball (setting means), 13c ... Button (timing instruction means), 13d ... Mouse (setting means), 13e ... Keyboard (setting means), 14 ... Monitor (display means), 21 ... Transmission / reception unit (transmission / reception means), 24... Image generation circuit (image generation means), 25... Control processor (transmission / reception control means, image processing means), b.

Claims (12)

  1. In an ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus for acquiring an ultrasonic diagnostic image by scanning a predetermined portion of a subject to which a contrast agent bubble is administered with an ultrasonic wave,
    An ultrasonic probe;
    Transmitting and receiving means for transmitting and receiving ultrasound to and from the subject by driving the ultrasound probe;
    The ultrasonic waves are transmitted at a sound pressure that does not destroy the contrast agent bubble for the first region of the predetermined region, and at a sound pressure that destroys the contrast agent bubble for the second region of the predetermined region. 1 transmission continuously,
    After the first transmission, the ultrasonic wave is transmitted at a sound pressure that does not destroy the contrast agent bubble for the second region, or the transmission of the ultrasonic wave is stopped, and the contrast agent for the first region. The second transmission for transmitting the ultrasonic wave with a sound pressure that does not break the bubble is continuously performed over a period shorter than the period of the first transmission,
    After the second transmission, transmission / reception control means for continuously forming the first transmission again to form the contrast agent bubble lump,
    An image generating means for generating an ultrasonic image based on an echo signal caused by the ultrasonic wave received by the transmitting / receiving means;
    Display means for displaying the generated ultrasonic image ;
    Setting means for setting a length of a period for continuously executing the second transmission to an arbitrary period within a period shorter than the first transmission;
    An ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus comprising:
  2. An input unit for receiving an input operation related to the timing of starting the second transmission;
    The transmission / reception control means sets the timing based on the input operation, and controls the transmission / reception means to start the second transmission according to the set timing;
    The ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus according to claim 1.
  3. An input means for receiving an input operation related to a time interval for executing the first transmission;
    The transmission / reception control means sets the time interval based on the input operation, and controls the transmission / reception means to execute the first and second transmissions according to the set time interval;
    The ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus according to claim 1 or 2, characterized in.
  4. The period for continuously executing the second transmission is as follows:
    A time interval such that the contrast agent bubble stays in the first region and a time interval such that the contrast agent bubble is visible to the ultrasound image;
    The ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein.
  5. Of the ultrasonic images generated by the image generation means, the first image generated before the second transmission and the second image generated after the second transmission are used as a difference. Further comprising image processing means for performing an operation and generating a plurality of difference images;
    The ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 4 , wherein:
  6. The period for continuously executing the second transmission is set by the setting means based on the blood flow velocity detected by the Doppler mode;
    The ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein:
  7. The image processing means executes at least one of a maximum value holding calculation, a minimum value holding calculation, an integration calculation, and an average calculation related to brightness using the plurality of difference images;
    The ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus according to claim 5.
  8. The display means superimposes and displays the first image and the difference image;
    The ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus according to claim 5.
  9.   The ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus according to claim 8, wherein the display unit displays the first image and the difference image in different colors.
  10. Further comprising input means for inputting the second area in accordance with an operator's instruction;
    The ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein:
  11. The transmission / reception control means controls transmission / reception of ultrasonic waves with respect to a three-dimensional region,
    The image generation means generates a three-dimensional image or a projection image of the three-dimensional image as the ultrasonic image;
    The ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 10, wherein:
  12.   The setting means sets a period for continuously executing the first transmission in order to form the mass of the contrast agent bubble every predetermined period;
      The ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus according to claim 1, wherein:
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