Precision and accuracy of acoustospectrographic parameters

H. Huisman and J. Thijssen

Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology 1996;22(7):855-871.

DOI PMID Download Cited by ~58

Theoretical estimates of the standard deviation (STD) of four acoustospectrographic parameters (the intercept and slope of attenuation and backscatter coefficient) are derived. This derivation expands and corrects existing derivations, and is confirmed using simulations based on the adopted theoretical model. A robust parameter estimation method is applied to various phantom measurements, and to in vivo liver scans of healthy human subjects. The measured STD is higher than the theoretically predicted value, and we investigated four possible factors which explain this discrepancy. First, it is shown that the STD and bias after spectrogram calculation are rather insensitive to changes in windowing function, type, length and overlap. Second, we observed that a diffraction correction spectrogram calibrated on a medium different from the one being measured insufficiently corrects the depth-dependency of the parameters, which affects both precision as well as accuracy. We therefore propose a method that constructs an organ-specific diffraction correction spectrogram from the averaged spectrogram of a set of normal organs. We show that the organ-specific correction does not affect STD even in case of previously unseen acquisitions. Third, we introduce local inhomogeneity, which predicts excess STD due to local variations of the physical parameters within an organ (i.e., intrasubject), and global inhomogeneity, which predicts variations between organs (i.e., intersubject). We conclude that our method of estimating STD predicts normal, in vivo data very well, and propose that the deviation from these estimates is a potential tissue characterization parameter.