DOI: 10.1121/10.0025291 ISSN: 0001-4966

Systematic quantification of differences in shear wave elastography estimates between linear-elastic and viscoelastic material assumptions

Sapna R. Bisht, Abhijit Paul, Panchami Patel, Prachi Thareja, Karla P. Mercado-Shekhar
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Quantitative, accurate, and standardized metrics are important for reliable shear wave elastography (SWE)-based biomarkers. For over two decades, the linear-elastic material assumption has been employed in SWE modes. In recent years, viscoelasticity estimation methods have been adopted in a few clinical systems. The current study aims to systematically quantify differences in SWE estimates obtained using linear-elastic and viscoelastic material assumptions. An acousto-mechanical simulation framework of acoustic radiation force impulse-based SWE was created to elucidate the effect of material viscosity and shear modulus on SWE estimates. Shear modulus estimates exhibited errors up to 72% when a numerical viscoelastic phantom was assessed as linearly elastic. Shear modulus estimates of polyvinyl alcohol phantoms between rheometry and SWE following the Kelvin-Voigt viscoelastic model assumptions were not significantly different. However, the percentage difference in shear modulus estimates between rheometry and SWE using the linear-elastic assumption was 50.1%–62.1%. In ex vivo liver, the percentage difference in shear modulus estimates between linear-elastic and viscoelastic methods was 76.1%. These findings provide a direct and systematic quantification of the potential error introduced when viscoelastic tissues are imaged with SWE following the linear-elastic assumption. This work emphasizes the need to utilize viscoelasticity estimation methods for developing robust quantitative imaging biomarkers.

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