Attenuation measuring ultrasound shearwave elastography and in vivo application in post-transplant liver patients

Ivan Z. Nenadic, Bo Qiang, Matthew W. Urban, Heng Zhao, William Sanchez, James F. Greenleaf, Shigao Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Ultrasound and magnetic resonance elastography techniques are used to assess mechanical properties of soft tissues. Tissue stiffness is related to various pathologies such as fibrosis, loss of compliance, and cancer. One way to perform elastography is measuring shear wave velocity of propagating waves in tissue induced by intrinsic motion or an external source of vibration, and relating the shear wave velocity to tissue elasticity. All tissues are inherently viscoelastic and ignoring viscosity biases the velocity-based estimates of elasticity and ignores a potentially important parameter of tissue health. We present attenuation measuring ultrasound shearwave elastography (AMUSE), a technique that independently measures both shear wave velocity and attenuation in tissue and therefore allows characterization of viscoelasticity without using a rheological model. The theoretical basis for AMUSE is first derived and validated in finite element simulations. AMUSE is validated against the traditional methods for assessing shear wave velocity (phase gradient) and attenuation (amplitude decay) in tissue mimicking phantoms and excised tissue. The results agreed within one standard deviation. AMUSE was used to measure shear wave velocity and attenuation in 15 transplanted livers in patients with potential acute rejection, and the results were compared with the biopsy findings in a preliminary study. The comparison showed excellent agreement and suggests that AMUSE can be used to separate transplanted livers with acute rejection from livers with no rejection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-500
Number of pages17
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 21 2017


  • shear wave attenuation
  • tissue viscoelasticity
  • ultrasound vibrometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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