Histotripsy methods in mechanical disintegration of tissue: towards clinical applications.
Cavitation clouds generated by short, high-amplitude, focused ultrasound pulses were previously observed to attract, trap, and erode thrombus fragments in a vessel phantom. This phenomenon may offer a noninvasive method to capture and eliminate embolic fragments flowing through the bloodstream during a cardiovascular intervention. In this article, the mechanism of embolus trapping was explored by particle image velocimetry (PIV). PIV was used to examine the fluid streaming patterns generated by ultrasound in a vessel phantom with and without crossflow of blood-mimicking fluid. Cavitation enhanced streaming, which generated fluid vortices adjacent to the focus. The focal streaming velocity, uf, was as high as 120 cm/s, while mean crossflow velocities, uc, were imposed up to 14 cm/s. When a solid particle 3-4 mm diameter was introduced into crossflow, it was trapped near the focus. Increasing uf promoted particle trapping while increasing uc promoted particle escape. The maximum crossflow Reynolds number at which particles could be trapped, Rec, was approximately linear with focal streaming number, Ref, i.e. Rec = 0.25Ref + 67.44 (R(2) = 0.76) corresponding to dimensional velocities uc = 0.084uf + 3.122 for 20 < uf < 120 cm/s. The fluidic pressure map was estimated from PIV and indicated a negative pressure gradient towards the focus, trapping the embolus near this location.