Lung Ultrasound Surface Wave Elastography: A Pilot Clinical Study

Xiaoming Zhang, Thomas Osborn, Boran Zhou, Duane Meixner, Randall R. Kinnick, Brian Bartholmai, James F. Greenleaf, Sanjay Kalra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


A lung ultrasound surface wave elastography (LUSWE) technique is developed to measure superficial lung tissue elastic properties. The purpose of this paper was to translate LUSWE into clinical studies for assessing patients with interstitial lung disease (ILD) and present the pilot data from lung measurements on 10 healthy subjects and 10 patients with ILD. ILD includes multiple lung disorders in which the lung tissue is distorted and stiffened by tissue fibrosis. Chest radiography and computed tomography are the most commonly used techniques for assessing lung disease, but they are associated with radiation and cannot directly measure lung elastic properties. LUSWE provides a noninvasive and nonionizing technique to measure the elastic properties of superficial lung tissue. LUSWE was used to measure regions of both lungs through six intercostal spaces for patients and healthy subjects. The data are presented as wave speed at 100, 150, and 200 Hz at the six intercostal spaces. As an example, the surface wave speeds are, respectively, 1.88 ± 0.11 m/s at 100 Hz, 2.74 ± 0.26 m/s at 150 Hz, and 3.62 ± 0.13 m/s at 200 Hz for a healthy subject in the upper right lung; this is in comparison to measurements from an ILD patient of 3.3 ± 0.37 m/s at 100 Hz, 4.38 ± 0.33 m/s at 150 Hz, and 5.24 ± 0.44 m/s at 200 Hz in the same lung space. Significant differences in wave speed between healthy subjects and ILD patients were found. LUSWE is a safe and noninvasive technique which may be useful for assessing ILD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7938345
Pages (from-to)1298-1304
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017


  • Interstitial lung disease (ILD)
  • lung
  • surface wave elastography (SWE)
  • ultrasound
  • wave speed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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