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Suggestion of Ultrasonic System for Diagnosis of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: Finite Difference Analysis, Development and Clinical Trials

Authors: Won-Pil Park, Qyoun-Jung Lee, Dae-Gon Woo, Chang-Yong Ko, Eun-Geun Kim, Dohyung Lim, Yong-Heum Lee, Tae-Min Shin, Han-Sung Kim


The disaster from functional gastrointestinal disorders has detrimental impact on the quality of life of the effected population and imposes a tremendous social and economic burden. There are, however, rare diagnostic methods for the functional gastrointestinal disorders. Our research group identified recently that the gastrointestinal tract well in the patients with the functional gastrointestinal disorders becomes more rigid than healthy people when palpating the abdominal regions overlaying the gastrointestinal tract. Objective of current study is, therefore, identify feasibility of a diagnostic system for the functional gastrointestinal disorders based on ultrasound technique, which can quantify the characteristics above. Two-dimensional finite difference (FD) models (one normal and two rigid model) were developed to analyze the reflective characteristic (displacement) on each soft-tissue layer responded after application of ultrasound signals. The FD analysis was then based on elastic ultrasound theory. Validation of the model was performed via comparison of the characteristic of the ultrasonic responses predicted by FD analysis with that determined from the actual specimens for the normal and rigid conditions. Based on the results from FD analysis, ultrasound system for diagnosis of the functional gastrointestinal disorders was developed and clinically tested via application of it to 40 human subjects with/without functional gastrointestinal disorders who were assigned to Normal and Patient Groups. The FD models were favorably validated. The results from FD analysis showed that the maximum displacement amplitude in the rigid models (0.12 and 0.16) at the interface between the fat and muscle layers was explicitly less than that in the normal model (0.29). The results from actual specimens showed that the maximum amplitude of the ultrasonic reflective signal in the rigid models (0.2±0.1Vp-p) at the interface between the fat and muscle layers was explicitly higher than that in the normal model (0.1±0.2 Vp-p). Clinical tests using our customized ultrasound system showed that the maximum amplitudes of the ultrasonic reflective signals near to the gastrointestinal tract well for the patient group (2.6±0.3 Vp-p) were generally higher than those in normal group (0.1±0.2 Vp-p). Here, maximum reflective signals was appeared at 20mm depth approximately from abdominal skin for all human subjects, corresponding to the location of the boundary layer close to gastrointestinal tract well. These findings suggest that our customized ultrasound system using the ultrasonic reflective signal may be helpful to the diagnosis of the functional gastrointestinal disorders.

Keywords: gastrointestinal tract, Finite Difference (FD) Analysis, FunctionalGastrointestinal Disorders, UltrasonicResponses

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