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Echocardiography is commonly used in clinical practice for the real-time assessment of cardiac morphology and function. Nevertheless, due to the nature of the data acquisition, cardiac ultrasound images are often corrupted by a range of acoustic artefacts, including acoustic noise, speckle and shadowing. Spatial compounding techniques have long been recognised for their ability to suppress common ultrasound artefacts, enhancing the imaged cardiac structures. However, they require extended acquisition times as well as accurate spatio-temporal alignment of the compounded data. Elevational spatial compounding acquires and compounds adjacent partially decorrelated planes of the same cardiac structure.
This paper employs an anthropomorphic left ventricle phantom to examine the effect of acquisition parameters, such as inter-slice angular displacement and 3D sector angular range, on the elevational spatial compounding of cardiac ultrasound data.
Results and conclusion
Elevational spatial compounding can produce substantial noise and speckle suppression as well as visual enhancement of tissue structures even for small acquisition sector widths (2.5° to 6.5°). In addition, elevational spatial compounding eliminates the need for extended acquisition times as well as the need for temporal alignment of the compounded datasets. However, moderate spatial registration may still be required to reduce any tissue/chamber blurring side effects that may be introduced.