Until now, no matrix transducer has been realized for 3D transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) in pediatric patients. In 3D TEE with a matrix transducer, the biggest challenges are to connect a large number of elements to a standard ultrasound system, and to achieve a high volume rate (>200 Hz). To address these issues, we have recently developed a prototype miniaturized matrix transducer for pediatric patients with micro-beamforming and a small central transmitter. In this paper we propose two multiline parallel 3D beamforming techniques (μBF25 and μBF169) using the micro-beamformed datasets from 25 and 169 transmit events to achieve volume rates of 300 Hz and 44 Hz, respectively. Both the realizations use angle-weighted combination of the neighboring overlapping sub-volumes to avoid artifacts due to sharp intensity changes introduced by parallel beamforming. In simulation, the image quality in terms of the width of the point spread function (PSF), lateral shift invariance and mean clutter level for volumes produced by μBF25 and μBF169 are similar to the idealized beamforming using a conventional single-line acquisition with a fully-sampled matrix transducer (FS4k, 4225 transmit events). For completeness, we also investigated a 9 transmit-scheme (3 × 3) that allows even higher frame rates but found worse B-mode image quality with our probe. The simulations were experimentally verified by acquiring the μBF datasets from the prototype using a Verasonics V1 research ultrasound system. For both μBF169 and μBF25, the experimental PSFs were similar to the simulated PSFs, but in the experimental PSFs, the clutter level was ∼10 dB higher. Results indicate that the proposed multiline 3D beamforming techniques with the prototype matrix transducer are promising candidates for real-time pediatric 3D TEE.
Bibliographical noteAccepted author manuscript
- matrix transducer
- parallel beamforming
- pediatric TEE
- sub-array beamforming
- transesophageal echocardiography