A preliminary study on an image analysis based method for lowest detectable signal measurements in Pulsed Wave Doppler ultrasounds

Giorgia Fiori, Fabio Fuiano, Andrea Scorza, Jan Galo, Silvia Conforto, Salvatore Andrea Sciuto


Nowadays, Doppler system performance evaluation is a widespread issue because a shared worldwide standard is still awaited. Among the recommended Doppler test parameters, the lowest detectable signal could be considered mandatory in Quality Control (QC) protocols for Pulsed Wave (PW) Doppler. Such parameter is defined as the minimum signal level that can be clearly distinguished from noise and therefore, it is considered as related to PW Doppler sensitivity. The present study focuses on proposing and validating a novel image analysis based method for the estimation of the Lowest Detectable Signal in the spectrogram image (LDSIMG), namely Automatic Doppler Sensitivity Measurement Method (ADSMM), as well as to compare its results with the outcomes retrieved from the Naked Eye Doppler Sensitivity Method (NEDSM), based on the mean judgment of three independent observers. Data have been collected from a Doppler flow phantom, through three ultrasound systems for general purpose imaging, equipped with two linear array probes each and with two configuration settings. Results are globally compatible among the proposed methods, US systems and settings. Further studies could be carried out on a higher number of US diagnostic systems, Doppler frequencies and observers, as well as with different probe and phantom models.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21014/acta_imeko.v10i2.1051