Software & Hardware
Simultaneous Sparsity-Based Super-Resolution And Tracking (3SAT)
O. Solomon, R. J. van Sloun, H. Wijkstra, M. Mischi and Yonina C. Eldar

Ultrasound localization microscopy offers new radiation-free diagnostic tools for vascular imaging deep within the tissue. Sequential localization of echoes returned from inert microbubbles with low-concentration within the bloodstream reveal the vasculature with capillary resolution. Despite its high spatial resolution, low microbubble concentrations dictate the acquisition of tens of thousands of images, over the course of several seconds to tens of seconds, to produce a single super-resolved image. Such long acquisition times and stringent constraints on microbubble concentration are undesirable in many clinical scenarios. To address these restrictions, sparsity-based approaches have recently been developed. These methods reduce the total acquisition time dramatically, while maintaining good spatial resolution in settings with considerable microbubble overlap. Here, we further improve the spatial resolution and visual vascular reconstruction quality of sparsity-based super-resolution ultrasound imaging from low frame-rate acquisitions, by exploiting the inherent flow of microbubbles and utilize their motion kinematics. We also provide quantitative measurements of microbubble velocities and show that our approach achieves higher microbubble recall-rate than state-of-the-art techniques, while increasing contrast agents concentration. Our method relies on simultaneous tracking and sparsity-based detection of individual microbubbles in a frame-by-frame manner, and as such, may be suitable for real-time implementation. The effectiveness of the proposed approach is demonstrated on both simulations and an it in-vivo contrast enhanced human prostate scan, acquired with a clinically approved scanner operating at a 10Hz frame-rate.

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