Ultrasound Attenuation Estimation in Harmonic Imaging for Robust Fatty Liver Detection

Ping Gong, Chenyun Zhou, Pengfei Song, Chengwu Huang, U. Wai Lok, Shanshan Tang, Kymberly Watt, Matthew Callstrom, Shigao Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Accurate detection of liver steatosis is important for liver disease management. Ultrasound attenuation coefficient estimation (ACE) has great potential in quantifying liver fat content. The commonly used ACE methods (e.g., spectral shift methods, reference phantom methods) assume linear tissue response to ultrasound and were developed in fundamental imaging. However, fundamental imaging may be vulnerable to reverberation clutters introduced by the body wall. The clutters superimposed on liver echoes may bias the attenuation estimation. Here we propose a new ACE technique, the reference frequency method (RFM), in harmonic imaging to mitigate the reverberation bias. The accuracy of harmonic RFM was validated through a phantom study. In a pilot patient study, harmonic RFM performed more robustly in vivo compared with fundamental RFM, illustrating the potential of ACE in harmonic imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3080-3087
Number of pages8
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Fatty liver detection
  • Harmonic imaging
  • Ultrasound attenuation estimation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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