Influences of microbubble diameter and ultrasonic parameters on in vitro sonothrombolysis efficacy

Michael J. Borrelli, William D. O'Brien, Eric Hamilton, Michael L. Oelze, Jonah Wu, Laura J. Bernock, Stephen Tung, Husein Rokadia, William C. Culp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To quantify the effects of microbubble (MB) size, elasticity, and pulsed ultrasonic parameters on in vitro sonothrombolysis (ultrasound [US]-mediated thrombolysis) efficacy. Materials and Methods: Monodispersive MBs with diameters of 1 μm or 3 μm were exposed to pulsed US (1 MHz or 3 MHz) to lyse rabbit blood clots. Sonothrombolysis efficacy (clot mass loss) was measured as functions of MB size and concentration, ultrasonic frequency and intensity, pulse duration (PD), pulse repeat frequency (PRF), and duty factor. Results: Sonothrombolysis at 1 MHz was more effective using 3-μm MBs and at 3 MHz using 1-μm MBs. Sonothrombolysis was more effective at 1 MHz when≥75% of MBs remained intact, especially for 3-μm MBs; improving sonothrombolysis by increasing PRF from 100 Hz to 400 Hz at 3 MHz was associated with increasing 3-μm MB survival. However, 60% of 1-μm MBs were destroyed during maximal sonothrombolysis at 3 MHz, indicating that considerable MB collapse may be required for sonothrombolysis under these conditions. Conclusions: The ability to control MB size and elasticity permits using a wide range of US parameters (eg, frequency, intensity) to produce desired levels of sonothrombolysis. Comparable, maximal sonothrombolysis efficacy was achieved at 20-fold lower intensity with 3-μm MBs (0.1 W/cm2) than with 1-μm MBs (2.0 W/cm2), a potential safety issue for in vivo sonothrombolysis. US parameters that maximized MB survival yielded maximal sonothrombolysis efficacy except with 1-μm MBs at 3 MHz where most MBs were destroyed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1677-1684.e1
JournalJournal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • AFM
  • atomic force microscopy
  • MB
  • microbubble
  • PBS
  • PD
  • phosphate-buffered saline
  • PRF
  • pulse duration
  • pulse repeat frequency
  • tissue plasminogen activator
  • tPA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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