Clinical trials have demonstrated that hyperthermia improves cancer treatments. Previous studies developed ultrasound temperature imaging methods, based on the changes in backscattered energy (CBE), to monitor temperature variations during hyperthermia. Echo shift, induced by increasing temperature, contaminates the CBE image, and its tracking and compensation should normally ensure that estimations of CBE at each pixel are correct. To obtain a simplified algorithm that would allow real-time computation of CBE images, this study evaluated the usefulness of CBE imaging without echo shift compensation in detecting distributions in temperature. Experiments on phantoms, using different scatterer concentrations, and porcine livers were conducted to acquire raw backscattered data at temperatures ranging from 37 °C to 45 °C. Tissue samples of pork tenderloin were ablated in vitro by microwave irradiation to evaluate the feasibility of using the CBE image without compensation to monitor tissue ablation. CBE image construction was based on a ratio map obtained from the envelope image divided by the reference envelope image at 37 °C. The experimental results demonstrated that the CBE image obtained without echo shift compensation has the ability to estimate temperature variations induced during uniform heating or tissue ablation. The magnitude of the CBE as a function of temperature obtained without compensation is stronger than that with compensation, implying that the CBE image without compensation has a better sensitivity to detect temperature. These findings suggest that echo shift tracking and compensation may be unnecessary in practice, thus simplifying the algorithm required to implement real-time CBE imaging.
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