Spatial distribution of airway wall displacements during breathing and bronchoconstriction measured by ultrasound elastography using finite element image registration.

Ultrasonics

PubMedID: 27988462

Harvey BC, Lutchen KR, Barbone PE. Spatial distribution of airway wall displacements during breathing and bronchoconstriction measured by ultrasound elastography using finite element image registration. Ultrasonics. 2016;75174-184.
With every breath, the airways within the lungs are strained. This periodic stretching is thought to play an important role in determining airway caliber in health and disease. Particularly, deep breaths can mitigate excessive airway narrowing in healthy subjects, but this beneficial effect is absent in asthmatics, perhaps due to an inability to stretch the airway smooth muscle (ASM) embedded within an airway wall. The heterogeneous composition throughout an airway wall likely modulates the strain felt by the ASM but the magnitude of ASM strain is difficult to measure directly. In this study, we optimized a finite element image registration method to measure the spatial distribution of displacements and strains throughout an airway wall during pressure inflation within the physiological breathing range before and after induced narrowing with acetylcholine (ACh). The method was shown to be repeatable, and displacements estimated from different image sequences of the same deformation agreed to within 5. 3┬Ám (0. 77%). We found the magnitude and spatial distribution of displacements were radially and longitudinally heterogeneous. The region in the middle layer of the airway experienced the largest radial strain due to a transmural pressure (Ptm) increase simulating tidal breathing and a deep inspiration (DI), while the region containing the ASM (i. e. , closest to the lumen) strained least. During induced narrowing with ACh, we observed temporal longitudinal heterogeneity of the airway wall. After constriction, the displacements and strain are much smaller than the relaxed airway and the pattern of strains changed, suggesting the airway stiffened heterogeneously.