In situ measurements of Doppler power vs. flow turbulence intensity in red cell suspensions.
Whereas previous studies have shown that ultrasonic backscatter and Doppler power from blood are affected by flow turbulence, turbulence level has only been inferred from the flow Reynolds number and not directly measured. In this study, both ultrasonic Doppler power and flow turbulence intensity were measured in situ to quantify the relationship between Doppler power and flow turbulence. Three grid meshes of different geometries were used in a steady-flow mock loop to generate controlled levels of flow turbulence in porcine red blood cell saline suspensions. Doppler power was measured by a 10-MHz PW Doppler flowmeter, and the turbulence intensity by using constant-temperature hot film anemometry. We showed that Doppler power is affected by turbulence and hematocrit in a complex way. At a fixed hematocrit, Doppler power increases nonlinearly with turbulence intensity and, at fixed turbulence intensity, Doppler power peaks at an optimal hematocrit level that increases with turbulence level. The shape factor, introduced by Lucas and Twersky (1987) to take into account effects of shape and orientation of the scatterers in a dense distribution of small and tenuous scatterers, was estimated by fitting the experimental data to the theoretical model. The results indicate that shape factor decreases with increasing turbulence intensity.