Diagnostic ultrasound high mechanical index impulses restore microvascular flow in peripheral arterial thromboembolism

Thomas R. Porter, Stanley Radio, John Lof, Carr Everbach, Jeffry E. Powers, Francois Vignon, William T. Shi, Feng Xie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We sought to explore mechanistically how intermittent high-mechanical-index (MI) diagnostic ultrasound impulses restore microvascular flow. Thrombotic microvascular obstruction was created in the rat hindlimb muscle of 36 rats. A diagnostic transducer confirmed occlusion with low-MI imaging during an intravenous microbubble infusion. This same transducer was used to intermittently apply ultrasound with an MI that produced stable or inertial cavitation (IC) for 10 min through a tissue-mimicking phantom. A nitric oxide inhibitor, L-Nω-nitroarginine methyl ester (L-NAME), was pre-administered to six rats. Plateau microvascular contrast intensity quantified skeletal microvascular blood volume, and postmortem staining was used to detect perivascular hemorrhage. Intermittent IC impulses produced the greatest recovery of microvascular blood volume (p < 0.0001, analysis of variance). Nitric oxide inhibition did not affect the skeletal microvascular blood volume improvement, but did result in more perivascular hemorrhage. IC inducing pulses from a diagnostic transducer can reverse microvascular obstruction after acute arterial thromboembolism. Nitric oxide may prevent unwanted bio-effects of these IC pulses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1531-1540
Number of pages10
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Cavitation
  • Diagnostic ultrasound
  • Microvascular obstruction
  • Nitric oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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