HEATING IN VASCULAR TISSUE AND FLOW-THROUGH TISSUE PHANTOMS INDUCED BY FOCUSED ULTRASOUND
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High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) can be used to control bleeding, both from individual blood vessels as well as from gross damage to the capillary bed. This process, called acoustic hemostasis, is being studied in the hope that such a method would ultimately provide a lifesaving treatment during the so-called "golden hour", a brief grace period after a severe trauma in which prompt therapy can save the life of an injured person. Thermal effects play a major role in occlusion of small vessels and also appear to contribute to the sealing of punctures in major blood vessels. However, aggressive ultrasound-induced tissue heating can also impact healthy tissue and can lead to deleterious mechanical bioeffects. Moreover, the presence of vascularity can limit one’s ability to elevate the temperature of blood vessel walls owing to convective heat transport. In an effort to better understand the heating process in tissues with vascular structure we have developed a numerical simulation that couples models for ultrasound propagation, acoustic streaming, ultrasound heating and blood cooling in Newtonian viscous media. The 3-D simulation allows for the study of complicated biological structures and insonation geometries. We have also undertaken a series of in vitro experiments, in non-uniform flow-through tissue phantoms, designed to provide a ground truth verification of the model predictions. The calculated and measured results were compared over a range of values for insonation pressure, insonation time, and flow rate; we show good agreement between predictions and measurements. We then conducted a series of simulations that address two limiting problems of interest: hemostasis in small and large vessels. We employed realistic human tissue properties and considered more complex geometries. Results show that the heating pattern in and around a blood vessel is different for different vessel sizes, flow rates and for varying beam orientations relative to the flow axis. Complete occlusion and wall- puncture sealing are both possible depending on the exposure conditions. These results concur with prior clinical observations and may prove useful for planning of a more effective procedure in HIFU treatments.
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