Date of this Version
Scientific Reports | 7: 16658
Real-time imaging of the embryonic murine cardiovascular system is challenging due to the small size of the mouse embryo and rapid heart rate. High-frequency, linear-array ultrasound systems designed for small-animal imaging provide high-frame-rate and Doppler modes but are limited in regards to the field of view that can be imaged at fine-temporal and -spatial resolution. Here, a plane-wave imaging method was used to obtain high-speed image data from in utero mouse embryos and multi-angle, vector-flow algorithms were applied to the data to provide information on blood flow patterns in major organs. An 18-MHz linear array was used to acquire plane-wave data at absolute frame rates ≥10 kHz using a set of fixed transmission angles. After beamforming, vector-flow processing and image compounding, effective frame rates were on the order of 2 kHz. Data were acquired from the embryonic liver, heart and umbilical cord. Vector-flow results clearly revealed the complex nature of blood-flow patterns in the embryo with fine-temporal and -spatial resolution.