Effect of high-intensity focused ultrasound on whole blood with and without microbubble contrast agent

Sandra L. Poliachik, Wayne L. Chandler, Pierre D. Mourad, Michael R. Bailey, Susannah Bloch, Robin O. Cleveland, Peter Kaczkowski, George Keilman, Tyrone Porter, Lawrence A. Crum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Using human whole blood samples with and without contrast agent (CA), we evaluated the effect of exposures to focused, continuous wave (CW) 1.1-MHz ultrasound for durations of 10 ms to 1 s at spatial average intensities of 560 to 2360 W/cm2. Cavitation was monitored with a passive cavitation detector and hemolysis was determined with spectroscopy. In whole blood alone, no significant cavitation, heating or hemolysis was detected at any exposure condition. Conversely, cavitation and hemolysis, but not heating, were detected in whole blood with CA. A CA concentration as low as 0.28 μL CA per mL whole blood at an intensity of 2360 W/cm2 for 1 s resulted in measurable cavitation and a 6-fold increase in hemolysis compared to shams. Cavitation and hemolysis increased proportional to the concentration of CA and duration of exposure. In samples containing 4.2 μL CA per mL whole blood exposed for 1 s, a threshold was seen at 1750 W/cm2 where cavitation and hemolysis increased 10-fold compared to exposures at lower intensities. HIFU exposure of whole blood containing CA leads to significant hemolysis in vitro and may lead to clinically significant hemolysis in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)991-998
Number of pages8
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1 1999


  • AIbunex®
  • Bioeffects
  • Cavitation
  • Contrast agents
  • Hemolysis
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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