All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Kenneth Hoyt

Advisory Committee Members

Joel Berry

Kurt Zinn

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering (MSBME) School of Engineering


This research examines the ability of volumetric contrast-enhanced ultrasound (VCEUS) imaging to quantify kidney blood flow, with the potential to monitor changes in renal perfusion following acute kidney injury (AKI). Ultrasound (US) imaging of microbubble contrast agents allows for increased imaging isolation of the vasculature, creating a non-toxic approach to visualizing blood flow. VCEUS utilizes a series of planar ultrasound acquisitions that can be collected in real time to survey the vascularity of a volumetric region-of-interest. Through post-processing methods it is possible to quantify perfusion parameters such as peak intensity (IPK), time-to-peak intensity (TPK), wash-in rate (WIR), and area-under-curve (AUC). We hypothesize that VCEUS will be a valuable addition to current techniques to track changes in kidney perfusion for both healthy and injured kidney. AKI involves the development of ischemia and decreased glomerular filtration rate in kidneys following some inducing injury, and is in need of a non-toxic, noninvasive imaging approach to monitor patient response to treatment. Current methods of detecting and determining the extent of AKI involve the detection of certain biomarkers in the blood serum and urine, such as creatinine. However, these methods lack the ideal specificity and sensitivity for AKI detection and monitoring. For this thesis project, custom US image processing software was developed with the purpose of deriving the described perfusion parameters, which will give us the necessary information to assess the kidney activity. Studies were initially performed investigating perfusion parameters in a vascular flow phantom, confirming the ability of the software to quantify VCEUS. Investigation of healthy rat kidneys further optimized data acquisition and image processing techniques. Investigation of rat kidneys that underwent ischemia-reperfusion injury allowed collection of pilot information to validate the ability of VCEUS imaging to monitor reperfusion response after AKI. Comparison with controls and current methods, such as creatinine, allow for confirmation of imaging analysis. These preclinical explorations give a complete study for VCEUS imaging of kidney blood flow, which gives the basis for further investigation into this field. The proposed methods in conjunction with currently available techniques have the potential for providing a more accurate representation of the disease state.

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