The risk of exposure to diagnostic ultrasound in postnatal subjects: Thermal effects

William D. O'Brien, Cheri X. Deng, Gerald R. Harris, Bruce A. Herman, Christopher R. Merritt, Naren Sanghvi, James F. Zachary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This review evaluates the thermal mechanism for ultrasound-induced biological effects in postnatal subjects. The focus is the evaluation of damage versus temperature increase. A view of ultrasound-induced temperature increase is presented, based on thermodynamic Arrhenius analyses. The hyperthermia and other literature revealed data that allowed for an estimate of a temperature increase threshold of tissue damage for very short exposure times. This evaluation yielded an exposure time extension of the 1997 American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine Conclusions Regarding Heat statement (American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, Laurel, MD) to 0.1 second for nonfetal tissue, where, at this exposure time, the temperature increase threshold of tissue damage was estimated to be about 18°C. The output display standard was also evaluated for soft tissue and bone cases, and it was concluded that the current thermal indices could be improved to reduce the deviations and scatter of computed maximum temperature rises.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-535
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Ultrasound in Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Arrhenius analysis
  • Nonfetal tissue
  • Output display standard
  • Temperature increase threshold
  • Thermal mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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