Acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging of the gastrointestinal tract.
The evaluation of lesions in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract using ultrasound can suffer from poor contrast between healthy and diseased tissue. Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse (ARFI) imaging provides information about the mechanical properties of tissue using brief, high-intensity, focused ultrasound to generate radiation force and ultrasonic correlation-based methods to track the resulting tissue displacement. Using conventional linear arrays, ARFI imaging has shown improved contrast over B-mode images when applied to solid masses in the breast and liver. The purpose of this work is to (1) investigate the potential for ARFI imaging to provide improvements over conventional B-mode imaging of GI lesions and (2) demonstrate that ARFI imaging can be performed with an endocavity probe. ARFI images of an adenocarcinoma of the gastroesophageal (GE) junction, status-post chemotherapy and radiation treatment, demonstrate better contrast between healthy and fibrotic/malignant tissue than standard B-mode images. ARFI images of healthy gastric, esophageal, and colonic tissue specimens differentiate normal anatomic tissue layers (i.e., mucosal, muscularis and adventitial layers), as confirmed by histologic evaluation. ARFI imaging of ex vivo colon and small bowel tumors portray interesting contrast and structure that are not as well defined in B-mode images. An endocavity probe created ARFI images to a depth of over 2 cm in tissue-mimicking phantoms, with maximum displacements of 4 microm. These findings support the clinical feasibility of endocavity ARFI imaging to guide diagnosis and staging of disease processes in the GI tract.