Shear wave elastography (SWE) has the potential to determine cardiac tissue stiffness from non-invasive shear wave speed measurements, important, e.g., for predicting heart failure. Previous studies showed that waves traveling in the interventricular septum (IVS) may display Lamb-like dispersive behaviour, introducing a thickness-frequency dependency in the wave speed. However, the IVS tapers across its length, which complicates wave speed estimation by introducing an additional variable to account for. The goal of this work is to assess the impact of tapering thickness on SWE. The investigation is performed by combining in vitro experiments with acoustic radiation force (ARF) and 2D finite element simulations, to isolate the effect of the tapering curve on ARF-induced and natural waves in the heart. The experiments show a 11% deceleration during propagation from the thick to the thin end of an IVS-mimicking tapered phantom plate. The numerical analysis shows that neglecting the thickness variation in the wavenumber-frequency domain can introduce errors of more than 30% in the estimation of the shear modulus, and that the exact tapering curve, rather than the overall thickness reduction, determines the dispersive behaviour of the wave. These results suggest that septal geometry should be accounted for when deriving cardiac stiffness with SWE.
|Journal||Journal of the Acoustical Society of America|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|