IEEE transactions on ultrasonics, ferroelectrics, and frequency control

Noninvasive thrombolysis using histotripsy beyond the intrinsic threshold (microtripsy).

PMID 26168180


Histotripsy has been investigated as a noninvasive, drug-free, image-guided thrombolysis method that fractionates blood clots using acoustic cavitation alone. In previous histotripsy-mediated thrombolysis studies, cavitation clouds were generated using multi-cycle pulses and tended to form on vessel wall. To avoid potential cavitational damage to the vessel wall, a new histotripsy approach, termed microtripsy, has been recently discovered in which cavitation is generated via an intrinsic-threshold mechanism using single-cycle pulses. We hypothesize that microtripsy can generate and confine cavitation in vessel lumen without contacting the vessel wall, which results in recanalization within the clot and potentially eliminating vessel damage. To test our hypothesis, microtripsy was investigated for clot recanalization in an in vitro flow model. Clots were formed inside a vessel phantom (6.5 mm inner diameter) in line with a flow system. Microtripsy was applied by a 1-MHz transducer at a pulse repetition frequency of 50 Hz with a peak negative pressure (P-) of 30 MPa or 36 MPa. To create a flow channel through a clot, the cavitation focus was scanned through the clot at an interval of 0.3 or 0.7 mm. The treated clots were 3-D-scanned by a 20-MHz ultrasound probe to quantify the channels. Restored flow rates were measured and clot debris particles generated from the treatments were analyzed. In all treatments, the cavitation cloud was consistently generated in the center of the vessel lumen without contacting the vessel wall. After each treatment, a flow channel was successfully generated through and completely confined inside the clot. The channels had a diameter up to 60% of the vessel diameter, with restored flow up to 500 mL/min. The debris particles were small with more than 99.9% <10 μm and the largest at 153 um. Each clot (2 cm long) was recanalized within 7 min. The size of the flow channels increased by using higher P- and was significantly larger by using the 0.3 mm scan interval than those using 0.7 mm. The results in this study show the potential of this new microtripsy thrombolysis method for fast, precise, and effective clot recanalization, minimizing risks of vessel damage and embolism.

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