Low-Cost 3-D Flow Estimation of Blood with Clutter

Siyuan Wei, Ming Yang, Jian Zhou, Richard Sampson, Oliver D. Kripfgans, J. Brian Fowlkes, Thomas F. Wenisch, Chaitali Chakrabarti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Volumetric flow rate estimation is an important ultrasound medical imaging modality that is used for diagnosing cardiovascular diseases. Flow rates are obtained by integrating velocity estimates over a cross-sectional plane. Speckle tracking is a promising approach that overcomes the angle dependency of traditional Doppler methods, but suffers from poor lateral resolution. Recent work improves lateral velocity estimation accuracy by reconstructing a synthetic lateral phase (SLP) signal. However, the estimation accuracy of such approaches is compromised by the presence of clutter. Eigen-based clutter filtering has been shown to be effective in removing the clutter signal; but it is computationally expensive, precluding its use at high volume rates. In this paper, we propose low-complexity schemes for both velocity estimation and clutter filtering. We use a two-tiered motion estimation scheme to combine the low complexity sum-of-absolute-difference and SLP methods to achieve subpixel lateral accuracy. We reduce the complexity of eigen-based clutter filtering by processing in subgroups and replacing singular value decomposition with less compute-intensive power iteration and subspace iteration methods. Finally, to improve flow rate estimation accuracy, we use kernel power weighting when integrating the velocity estimates. We evaluate our method for fast- A nd slow-moving clutter for beam-to-flow angles of 90° and 60° using Field II simulations, demonstrating high estimation accuracy across scenarios. For instance, for a beam-to-flow angle of 90° and fast-moving clutter, our estimation method provides a bias of-8.8% and standard deviation of 3.1% relative to the actual flow rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7866872
Pages (from-to)772-784
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017


  • Blood flow estimation
  • clutter filter
  • low complexity
  • three-dimensional (3-D)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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