The Effect of Flow Acceleration on the Cyclic Variation of Blood Echogenicity Under Pulsatile Flow

Chih Chung Huang, Chen Chih Liao, Po Yang Lee, Cho Chiang Shih

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10 Citations (Scopus)


It has been shown that the echogenicity of blood varies during a flow cycle under pulsatile flow both in vitro and in vivo. In general, the echogenicity of flowing whole blood increases during the early systole phase and then reduces to a minimum at late diastole. While it has been postulated that this cyclic variation is associated with the dynamics of erythrocyte aggregation, the mechanisms underlying this increasing echogenicity with flow velocity remain uncertain. The effect of flow acceleration has also been proposed as an explanation for this phenomenon, but no specific experiments have been conducted to test this hypothesis. In addition, the influence of ultrasonic attenuation on the cyclic variation of echogenicity requires clarification. In the present study, a Couette flow system was designed to simulate blood flowing with different acceleration patterns, and the flow velocity, attenuation, and backscattering coefficient were measured synchronously from 20%- and 40%-hematocrit porcine whole blood and erythrocyte suspensions using 35-MHz ultrasound transducers. The results showed ultrasonic attenuation exerted only minor effects on the echogenicity of blood under pulsatile flow conditions. Cyclic variations of echogenicity were clearly observed for whole blood with a hematocrit of 40%, but no variations were apparent for erythrocyte suspensions. The echogenicity did not appear to be enhanced when instantaneous acceleration was applied to flowing blood in any case. These findings show that flow acceleration does not promote erythrocyte aggregation, even when a higher peak velocity is applied to the blood. Comparison of the results obtained with different accelerations revealed that the cyclic variation in echogenicity observed during pulsatile blood flow may be jointly attributable to the effect of shear rate and the distribution of erythrocyte on aggregation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)670-680
Number of pages11
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Apr

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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