Effects of Attenuation and Thrombus Age on the Success of Ultrasound and Microbubble-Mediated Thrombus Dissolution

Feng Xie, E. Carr Everbach, Shunji Gao, Lucas K. Drvol, William T. Shi, Francois Vignon, Jeff E. Powers, John Lof, Thomas R. Porter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of applied mechanical index, incident angle, attenuation and thrombus age on the ability of 2-D vs. 3-D diagnostic ultrasound and microbubbles to dissolve thrombi. A total of 180 occlusive porcine arterial thrombi of varying age (3 or 6 h) were examined in a flow system. A tissue-mimicking phantom of varying thickness (5 to 10 cm) was placed over the thrombosed vessel and the 2-D or 3-D diagnostic transducer aligned with the thrombosed vessel using a positioning system. Diluted lipid-encapsulated microbubbles were infused during ultrasound application. Percent thrombus dissolution (%TD) was calculated by comparison of clot mass before and after treatment. Both 2-D and 3-D-guided ultrasound increased %TD compared with microbubbles alone, but %TD achieved with 6-h-old thrombi was significantly less than 3-h-old thrombi. Thrombus dissolution was achieved at 10 cm tissue-mimicking depths, even without inertial cavitation. In conclusion, diagnostic 2-D or 3-D ultrasound can dissolve thrombi with intravenous nontargeted microbubbles, even at tissue attenuation distances of up to 10 cm. This treatment modality is less effective, however, for older aged thrombi.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-288
Number of pages9
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Microbubbles
  • Three-dimensional ultrasound
  • Thrombus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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