ECG triggering and gating for ultrasonic small animal imaging

Jian Hung Liu*, Geng Shi Jeng, Tung Ke Wu, Pai Chi Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Echocardiography (ECG) is routinely used in the clinical diagnosis of cardiac function. The anatomy of the mouse is similar to that of the human, and thus murine ECG has become an effective tool for the assessment of small animal models of human cardiac diseases. Unfortunately, clinical ultrasonic imaging systems are not suitable for murine cardiac imaging due to their limited spatial and temporal resolutions. Murine ECG requires a spatial resolution better than 100 μm, which mandates the use of high-frequency, ultrasonic imaging (i.e., > 20 MHz). High-frequency transducer arrays currently are not available, and so such systems use the mechanical scanning of a single-element transducer for which the frame rate is insufficient for directly monitoring the rapid beating of a mouse heart, and thus retrospective image reconstruction is necessary. This paper presents a high-frequency, ultrasonic imaging system for murine cardiac imaging. Two scanning methods have been developed. One is based on ECG triggering and is called the block scanning mode, in which the murine cardiac images from the isovolumic contraction and isovolumic relaxation phases are retrospectively reconstructed within a relatively short data acquisition time using the ECG R-wave as the trigger to the imaging system. The other method is the line scanning mode based on ECG gating, in which both ECG and ultrasound scan lines are continuously acquired over a longer time, enabling images during the entire cardiac cycle to be obtained. It is demonstrated here that the effective frame rate is determined by the pulse repetition frequency and can be up to 2 kHz in the presented system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1678187
Pages (from-to)1590-1596
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006

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