Purpose: The aim of this study was to simulate the effect of high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) in non-homogenous medium for targeting atherosclerotic plaques in vivo. Materials and methods: A finite-difference time-domain heterogeneous model for acoustic and thermal tissue response in the treatment region was derived from ultrasound images of the treatment region. A 3.5 MHz dual mode ultrasound array suitable for targeting peripheral vessels was used. The array has a lateral and elevation focus at 40 mm with fenestration in its centre through which a 7.5 MHz diagnostic transducer can be placed. Two cases were simulated where seven adjacent HIFU shots (∼5000 W/cm2, 2-s exposure time) were targeted on the plaque tissue within the femoral artery. The transient bioheat equation with a convective term to account for blood flow was used to predict the thermal dose. The results of the simulation model were then validated against the histology data. Results: The simulation model predicted the HIFU-induced damage for both cases, and correlated well with the histology data. For the first case thermal damage was detected within the targeted plaque, while for the second case thermal damage was detected in the pre-focal region. Conclusion: The results suggest that a realistic, image-based acoustic and thermal model of the treatment region is capable of predicting the extent of thermal damage to target plaque tissue. The model considered the effect of the wall thickness of large arteries and the heat-sink effect of flowing blood. The model is used for predicting the size and pattern of HIFU damage in vivo.
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- Numerical simulation
- Therapeutic ultrasound
- Thermal ablation