Tapered Vector Doppler for Improved Quantification of Low Velocity Blood Flow
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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A new vector velocity estimation scheme is developed, termed Tapered Vector Doppler (TVD), aiming to improve the accuracy of low velocity flow estimation. This is done by assessing the effects of Singular Value Decompostion (SVD) and Finite Impulse Response (FIR) filters and designing an estimator which accounts for signal loss due to filtering. Synthetic data created using a combination of in vivo recordings and flow simulations were used to investigate scenarios with low blood flow, in combination with true clutter motion. Using this approach, the accuracy and precision of TVD was investigated for a range of clutter-to-blood and signal-to-noise ratios. The results indicated that for the investigated carotid application and setup, the SVD filter performed as a frequency based filter. For both SVD and FIR filters, suppression of the clutter signal resulted in large bias and variance in the estimated blood velocity magnitude and direction close to the vessel walls. Application of the proposed tapering technique yielded significant improvement in the accuracy and precision of near-wall vector velocity measurements, compared to non-tapered vector Doppler and weighted least squares approaches. In synthetic data, for a blood SNR of 5 dB, and in a near-wall region where the average blood velocity was 9 cm/s, the use of tapering reduced the average velocity magnitude bias from 26.3 cm/s to 1.4 cm/s. Complex flow in a carotid bifurcation was used to demonstrate the in vivo performance of TVD, and it was shown that tapering enables vector velocity estimation less affected by clutter and clutter filtering than what could be obtained by adaptive filter design only.