Pulmonary fibrosis affects is a progressive, inflammatory and fibro-proliferative lung disease and affects approximately 200,000 patients in the United States. The disease causes a change in the micro-architecture of the lung, such as thickening of the alveolar walls and the formation of patchy scars. Conventional uses of lung ultrasound in these patients is based on a standardized set of characteristics, however the readout from these characteristics is qualitative, subjective, and varies from operator to operator. Researchers in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and the Department of Biomedical Engineering have developed a method to detect and monitor the severity of fibrosis in patients using ultrasound multiple scattering (USMS). The approach takes advantage of the unique characteristics of the air-liquid interface scatter that is present in the lungs, through capture of the ultrasound transport parameters. By using USMS to measure the scattering mean free path in the lungs, a quantitative assessment of the severity of fibrosis in a patient is enabled for the first time. Quantification of the severity of fibrosis by USMS in an animal has been demonstrated and was further validated through a correlation of fibrosis assessed by CT scanning and histology. Through quantification of fibrosis in patients, their disease can be diagnosed earlier, continuously monitored, and treatments optimized. Furthermore, this provides an opportunity for new therapeutics to be evaluated as patients are being treated.
Earlier diagnosis of fibrosis.
Ongoing monitoring of disease progression.
Individualized treatment for patients and evaluation of new therapeutics.