IDENTIFYING AND MONITORING THE ROLES OF CAVITATION IN HEATING FROM HIGH-INTENSITY FOCUSED ULTRASOUND
Farny, Caleb Hooper
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For high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) to continue to gain acceptance for cancer treatment it is necessary to understand how the applied ultrasound interacts with gas trapped in the tissue. The presence of bubbles in the target location have been thought to be responsible for shielding the incoming pressure and increasing local heat deposition due to the bubble dynamics. We lack adequate tools for monitoring the cavitation process, due to both limited visualization methods and understanding of the underlying physics. The goal of this project was to elucidate the role of inertial cavitation in HIFU exposures in the hope of applying noise diagnostics to monitor cavitation activity and control HIFU-induced cavitation in a beneficial manner. A number of approaches were taken to understand the relationship between inertial cavitation signals, bubble heating, and bubble shielding in agar-graphite tissue phantoms. Passive cavitation detection (PCD) techniques were employed to detect inertial bubble collapses while the temperature was monitored with an embedded thermocouple. Results indicate that the broadband noise amplitude is correlated to bubble-enhanced heating. Monitoring inertial cavitation at multiple positions throughout the focal region demonstrated that bubble activity increased prefocally as it diminished near the focus. Lowering the HIFU duty cycle had the effect of maintaining a more or less constant cavitation signal, suggesting the shielding effect diminished when the bubbles had a chance to dissolve during the HIFU off-time. Modeling the effect of increasing the ambient temperature showed that bubbles do not collapse as violently at higher temperatures due to increased vapor pressure inside the bubble. Our conclusion is that inertial cavitation heating is less effective at higher temperatures and bubble shielding is involved in shifting energy deposition at the focus. The use of a diagnostic ultrasound imaging system as a PCD array was explored. Filtering out the scattered harmonics from the received RF signals resulted in a spatially- resolved inertial cavitation signal, while the amplitude of the harmonics showed a correlation with temperatures approaching the onset of boiling. The result is a new tool for detecting a broader spectrum of bubble activity and thus enhancing HIFU treatment visualization and feedback.