Spatial Angular Compounding Technique for H-Scan Ultrasound Imaging.
H-Scan is a new ultrasound imaging technique that relies on matching a model of pulse-echo formation to the mathematics of a class of Gaussian-weighted Hermite polynomials. This technique may be beneficial in the measurement of relative scatterer sizes and in cancer therapy, particularly for early response to drug treatment. Because current H-scan techniques use focused ultrasound data acquisitions, spatial resolution degrades away from the focal region and inherently affects relative scatterer size estimation. Although the resolution of ultrasound plane wave imaging can be inferior to that of traditional focused ultrasound approaches, the former exhibits a homogeneous spatial resolution throughout the image plane. The purpose of this study was to implement H-scan using plane wave imaging and investigate the impact of spatial angular compounding on H-scan image quality. Parallel convolution filters using two different Gaussian-weighted Hermite polynomials that describe ultrasound scattering events are applied to the radiofrequency data. The H-scan processing is done on each radiofrequency image plane before averaging to get the angular compounded image. The relative strength from each convolution is color-coded to represent relative scatterer size. Given results from a series of phantom materials, H-scan imaging with spatial angular compounding more accurately reflects the true scatterer size caused by reductions in the system point spread function and improved signal-to-noise ratio. Preliminary in vivo H-scan imaging of tumor-bearing animals suggests this modality may be useful for monitoring early response to chemotherapeutic treatment. Overall, H-scan imaging using ultrasound plane waves and spatial angular compounding is a promising approach for visualizing the relative size and distribution of acoustic scattering sources.