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John Kucewicz

Senior Engineer






2000-present and while at APL-UW

Rapid ultrasonic stimulation of inflamed tissue with diagnostic intent

McClintic, A.M., T.C. Dickey, M. Gofeld, P.R. Illian, M. Kliot, J.C. Kucewicz, J.D. Loeser, P.G. Richebe, and P.D. Mourad, "Rapid ultrasonic stimulation of inflamed tissue with diagnostic intent," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 134, 1521-1529, doi:10.1121/1.4812872, 2013.

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1 Aug 2013

Previous studies have observed that individual pulses of intense focused ultrasound (iFU) applied to inflamed and normal tissue can generate sensations, where inflamed tissue responds at a lower intensity than normal tissue. It was hypothesized that successively applied iFU pulses will generate sensation in inflamed tissue at a lower intensity and dose than application of a single iFU pulse. This hypothesis was tested using an animal model of chronic inflammatory pain, created by injecting an irritant into the rat hind paw. Ultrasound pulses were applied in rapid succession or individually to rats' rear paws beginning at low peak intensities and progressing to higher peak intensities, until the rats withdrew their paws immediately after iFU application. Focused ultrasound protocols consisting of successively and rapidly applied pulses elicited inflamed paw withdrawal at lower intensity and estimated tissue displacement values than single pulse protocols. However, both successively applied pulses and single pulses produced comparable threshold acoustic dose values and estimates of temperature increases. This raises the possibility that temperature increase contributed to paw withdrawal after rapid iFU stimulation. While iFU-induction of temporal summation may also play a role, electrophysiological studies are necessary to tease out these potential contributors to iFU stimulation.

Characterizing an agar/gelatin phantom for image guided dosing and feeback control of high-intensity focused ultrasound

Dunmire, B., J.C. Kucewicz, S.B. Mitchell, L.A. Crum, and K.M Sekins, "Characterizing an agar/gelatin phantom for image guided dosing and feeback control of high-intensity focused ultrasound," Ultrasound Med. Biol., 39, 300-311, 2013.

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1 Feb 2013

The temperature dependence of an agar/gelatin phantom was evaluated. The purpose was to predict the material property response to high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) for developing ultrasound guided dosing and targeting feedback. Changes in attenuation, sound speed, shear modulus and thermal properties with temperature were examined from 20°C to 70°C for 3 weeks post-manufacture. The attenuation decreased with temperature by a power factor of 0.15. Thermal conductivity, diffusivity and specific heat all increased linearly with temperature for a total change of approximately 16%, 10% and 6%, respectively. Sound speed had a parabolic dependence on temperature similar to that of water. Initially, the shear modulus irreversibly declined with even a slight increase in temperature. Over time, the gel maintained its room temperature shear modulus with moderate heating. A stable phantom was achieved within 2 weeks post-manufacture that possessed quasi-reversible material properties up to nearly 55°C.

Autoregressive ultrasound imaging method to enhance kidney stone twinkling and suppress blood flow

Kucewicz, J.C., B.W. Cunitz, B. Dunmire, M.R. Bailey, and L.A. Crum, "Autoregressive ultrasound imaging method to enhance kidney stone twinkling and suppress blood flow," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 129, 2376, doi:10.1121/1.3587699, 2011.

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1 Apr 2011

"Twinkling" is a widely reported ultrasound artifact whereby kidney stones and other similar calcified, strongly reflective objects appear as turbulent, flowing blood in color and power Doppler. The twinkling artifact has been shown to improve kidney stone detection over B-mode imaging alone, but its use has several limitations. Principally, twinkling can be confused with blood flow, potentially leading to an incorrect diagnosis. Here a new method is reported for explicitly suppressing the display of color from blood flow to enhance and/or isolate the twinkle signal. The method applies an autoregressive model to standard Doppler pulses in order to differentiate tissue, blood flow, and twinkling. The algorithm was implemented on a software-based, open architecture ultrasound system and tested by a sonographer on phantoms and on stones implanted in a live porcine kidney. Stones of 3-10 mm were detected reproducibly while suppressing blood flow in the image. In conclusion, a new algorithm designed to specifically detect stones has been tested and has potential clinical utility especially as efforts are made to reduce radiation exposure on diagnosis and monitoring.

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Investigation of the effect of signal amplitude on twinkling artifact

Lu, W., B.W. Cunitz, O.A. Sapozhnikov, P.J. Kaczkowski, J.C. Kucewicz, N.R. Owen, M.R. Bailey, and L.A. Crum, "Investigation of the effect of signal amplitude on twinkling artifact," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 129, 2376, doi: 10.1121/1.3587698, 2011.

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1 Apr 2011

Twinkling artifact on color Doppler ultrasound is the color labeling of hard objects, such as kidney stones, in the image. The origin of the artifact is unknown, but clinical studies have shown that twinkling artifact can improve the sensitivity of detection of stones by ultrasound. Although Doppler detection normally correlates changes in phase with moving blood, here the effect of amplitude on the artifact is investigated. Radio-frequency and in-phase and quadrature (IQ) data were recorded by pulse-echo ensembles using a software-programmable ultrasound system. Various hard targets in water and in tissue were insonified with a linear probe, and rectilinear pixel-based imaging was used to minimize beam-forming complexity. In addition, synthesized radio-frequency signals were sent directly into the ultrasound system to separate acoustic and signal processing effects. Artifact was observed both in onscreen and post-processed images, and as high statistical variance within the ensemble IQ data. Results showed that twinkling artifact could be obtained from most solid objects by changing the Doppler gain, yet signal amplitude did not have to be sufficiently high to saturate the receive circuits. In addition, low signal but high time gain compensation created the largest variance.

Prototype for expulsion of kidney stones with focused ultrasound

Shah, A., J.D. Harper, B.W. Cunitz, J.C. Kucewicz, Y.N. Wang, J.C. Simon, W. Lu, P.J. Kaczkowski, and M.R. Bailey, "Prototype for expulsion of kidney stones with focused ultrasound," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 129, 2376, doi:10.1121/1.3587694, 2011.

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1 Apr 2011

Residual fragments remain in over 50% of treatments for lower pole kidney stones. A second-generation device based on a diagnostic ultrasound system and scanhead has been developed with a unique algorithm for stone detection and the capability to focus ultrasound to expel residual fragments. Focused ultrasound was applied to a bead on string in a water tank as well as to human stones (<5 mm) implanted in the lower pole of a live porcine model via retrograde ureteroscopy. Histological samples were collected and scored in a blinded fashion for therapeutic exposures and for super-therapeutic levels. The in-vitro bead was visually observed to move under focused ultrasound. Even with progressive manual displacement of the bead, the system continuously tracked and caused bead movement in real time. In the live porcine model, stones were expelled from the lower pole to the ureteropelvic junction in seconds to minutes using pulses at a duty factor of 0.02 and 8 W total acoustic power. Injury was observed no more frequently than in controls. Occurrence of injury rose slightly above control at a duty factor of 0.02 and 80 W and at a duty factor of 1 and 8 W.

Real-time tracking of renal calculi displaced by the radiation force of focused ultrasound

Illian, P.R., Jr., B.W. Cunitz, J.C. Kucewicz, M.R. Bailey, and P.J. Kaczkowski, "Real-time tracking of renal calculi displaced by the radiation force of focused ultrasound," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 129, 2377, doi:10.1121/1.3587701, 2011.

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1 Apr 2011

An area of active research involves using the radiation force of ultrasound to expel small kidney stones or fragments from the kidney. The goal of this work is real-time motion tracking for visual feedback to the user and automated adaptive pushing as the stone moves. Algorithms have been designed to track stone movement during patient respiration but the challenge here is to track the stone motion relative to tissue. A new algorithm was written in MATLAB and implemented on an open-architecture, software-based ultrasound system. The algorithm was first trained then implemented in real-time on B-mode IQ data recorded from phantom experiments and animal studies. The tracking algorithm uses an ensemble of image processing techniques (2-D cross-correlation, phase correlation, and feature-edge detection) to overlay color on the stone in the real-time images and to assign a color to indicate the confidence in the identification of the stone. Camera images as well as ultrasound images showed that the system was able to locate a moving stone, re-target, and apply a new focused push pulse at that location.

Understanding changes in tissue phantom material properties with temperature

Dunmire, B.L., J.C. Kucewicz, S.B. Mitchell, L.A. Crum, and K.M. Sekins, "Understanding changes in tissue phantom material properties with temperature," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 129, 2405, doi:10.1121/1.3587832, 2011.

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1 Apr 2011

Phantoms used for high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) applications require rigorous evaluation of material properties since, locally, the material experiences extreme changes in temperature and stresses with the HIFU treatment. Here we present the testing of an agar-gelatin phantom intended for both acoustic radiation force imaging (ARFI) and HIFU applications. The phantom shear modulus, speed of sound, attenuation, and thermal properties were all evaluated over the range of room temperature to 80C. With the exception of the thermal properties, all measurements were taken during both heating and cool down. Cavitation threshold and melting point were also tested. The change in material sound speed and thermal properties with temperature were quasireversible and similar to that of water. Material attenuation showed a slight decrease with temperature, but appeared to also be reversible. Shear modulus decreased significantly with temperature, going to near zero. The response was not reversible, returning to only approximately one-third of the starting value. These results demonstrate the complex material response that can occur with HIFU treatment. The results also raise the question of how well the test procedures, and thus results, properly reflect the true HIFU conditions.

Observations of bubble-vessel interaction in ultrasound fields

Chen, H., J. Kucewicz, W. Kreider, A. Brayman, M. Bailey, and T. Matula, "Observations of bubble-vessel interaction in ultrasound fields," Proceedings, IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium, Rome, Italy, 20-23 September, 23-26, doi:10.1109/ULTSYM.2009.5441512 (IEEE, 2009).

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20 Sep 2009

Interactions between bubbles and nearby boundaries have been studied for some time; however, the direct interactions between bubbles and tissue boundaries, especially blood vessel walls, have not been studied to a large extent. In this work highspeed microscopy was used to study the dynamical interaction between microbubbles and microvessels of ex vivo rat mesentery subjected to a single pulse of ultrasound. Ultrasound contrast agent microbubbles were injected into the blood vessels of rat mesentery subsequent to having the blood flushed out. India ink was used to increase the contrast between microvessels and surrounding tissues. Tissue samples were aligned at the focus of both an ultrasound transducer with a center frequency of 1 MHz and an inverted microscope coupled to a high speed camera. Fourteen high-speed microphotographic images were acquired for each experiment using 50 ns shutter speeds. Observations of the coupled dynamics between bubbles and vessels ranging from 10 micrometer to 100 micrometer diameters under the exposure of ultrasound of peak negative pressure within the range of 1 MPa to 7.8 MPa suggest that the vessel wall dilates during bubble expansion, and invaginates during bubble contraction. A significant finding is that the ratio of invagination to distension is usually >1 and large circumferential strains can be imposed on the vessel wall during vessel invagination. In addition, the surrounding tissue response was also quantified. Based on these studies, we hypothesize that vessel invagination is the dominant mechanism for the initial induction of vascular damage via cavitation.

Focused ultrasound: Concept for automated transcutaneous control of hemorrhage in austere settings

Kucewicz, J.C., M.R. Bailey, P.J. Kaczkowski, and S.J. Carter, "Focused ultrasound: Concept for automated transcutaneous control of hemorrhage in austere settings," Aviat. Space Environ. Med., 80, 391-394, 2009.

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1 Apr 2009

High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is being developed for a range of clinical applications. Of particular interest to NASA and the military is the use of HIFU for traumatic injuries because HIFU has the unique ability to transcutaneously stop bleeding. Automation of this technology would make possible its use in remote, austere settings by personnel not specialized in medical ultrasound. Here a system to automatically detect and target bleeding is tested and reported.

The system uses Doppler ultrasound images from a clinical ultrasound scanner for bleeding detection and hardware for HIFU therapy. The system was tested using a moving string to simulate blood flow and targeting was visualized by Schlieren imaging to show the focusing of the HIFU acoustic waves.

When instructed by the operator, a Doppler ultrasound image is acquired and processed to detect and localize the moving string, and the focus of the HIFU array is electronically adjusted to target the string. Precise and accurate targeting was verified in the Schlieren images.

An automated system to detect and target simulated bleeding has been built and tested. The system could be combined with existing algorithms to detect, target, and treat clinical bleeding.

Investigation of an ultrasound imaging technique to target kidney stones in lithotripsy

Shah, A., M. Paun, J. Kucewicz, O.A. Sapozhnikov, M. Dighe, H.A. McKay, M.D. Sorensen, and M.R. Bailey, "Investigation of an ultrasound imaging technique to target kidney stones in lithotripsy," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 125, 2620, 2009.

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1 Apr 2009

Localization of kidney stones and targeting for lithotripsy can be challenges especially with ultrasound. However, twinkling artifact has been observed where Doppler ultrasound imagers assign color to the stone. We report a preliminary investigation from our observations in a porcine model and hypothesize why this artifact occurs. Glass beads, cement stones, and human stones were surgically placed into the renal collecting system through the ureter. The stones were imaged using several transducers and ultrasound imagers. In all cases, the twinkling artifact of the stone was observed, and its appearance and radiofrequency signature were unique from those of blood flow. Calcium oxalate monohydrate stones and smooth stones were not more difficult to image, contrary to previous reports. Increasing gain or placing the focal depth distal to the stone enhanced the artifact, but other user controls showed little effect. Twinkling started at the lateral edges of the stone and spread over the stone as gain was increased. The evidence supports the hypothesis that small motions induced by radiation force or elastic waves in the stone cause changes in received backscatter, particularly at imaging angles oblique to the stone surface.

Tissue pulsatility imaging of cerebral vasoreactivity during hyperventilation

Kucewicz, J.C., B. Dunmire, N.D. Giardino, D.F. Leotta, M. Paun, S.R. Dager, and K.W. Beach, "Tissue pulsatility imaging of cerebral vasoreactivity during hyperventilation," Ultrasound Med. Biol., 34, 1200-1208, doi:10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2008.01.001, 2008.

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1 Aug 2008

Tissue Pulsatility Imaging (TPI) is an ultrasonic technique that is being developed at the University of Washington to measure tissue displacement or strain due to blood flow over the cardiac and respiratory cycles. This technique is based in principle on plethysmography, an older non-ultrasound technology for measuring expansion of a whole limb or body part due to perfusion. TPI adapts tissue Doppler signal processing methods to measure the "plethysmographic" signal from hundreds or thousands of sample volumes in an ultrasound image plane. This paper presents a feasibility study to determine if TPI can be used to assess cerebral vasoreactivity. Ultrasound data were collected transcranially through the temporal acoustic window from four subjects before, during, and after voluntary hyperventilation. In each subject, decreases in tissue pulsatility during hyperventilation were observed that were statistically correlated with the subject's end-tidal CO2 measurements.

Functional tissue pulsatility imaging of the brain during visual stimulation

Kucewicz, J.C., B. Dunmire, D.F. Leotta, H. Panagiotides, M. Paun, and K.W. Beach, "Functional tissue pulsatility imaging of the brain during visual stimulation," Ultrasound Med. Biol., 33, 681-690, 2007.

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1 May 2007

Functional tissue pulsatility imaging is a new ultrasonic technique being developed to map brain function by measuring changes in tissue pulsatility as a result of changes in blood flow with neuronal activation. The technique is based in principle on plethysmography, an older, nonultrasound technology for measuring expansion of a whole limb or body part as a result of perfusion. Perfused tissue expands by a fraction of a percent early in each cardiac cycle when arterial inflow exceeds venous outflow, and it relaxes later in the cardiac cycle when venous drainage dominates. Tissue pulsatility imaging (TPI) uses tissue Doppler signal processing methods to measure this pulsatile "plethysmographic" signal from hundreds or thousands of sample volumes in an ultrasound image plane. A feasibility study was conducted to determine if TPI could be used to detect regional brain activation during a visual contrast-reversing checkerboard block paradigm study. During a study, ultrasound data were collected transcranially from the occipital lobe as a subject viewed alternating blocks of a reversing checkerboard (stimulus condition) and a static, gray screen (control condition). Multivariate analysis of variance was used to identify sample volumes with significantly different pulsatility waveforms during the control and stimulus blocks. In 7 of 14 studies, consistent regions of activation were detected from tissue around the major vessels perfusing the visual cortex.

Plethysmographic arterial waveform strain discrimination by Fisher's method

Kucewicz, J.C., L. Huang, and K.W. Beach, "Plethysmographic arterial waveform strain discrimination by Fisher's method," Ultrasound Med. Biol., 30, 773-782, 2004.

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1 Jun 2004

Plethysmography has been used for over 50 years to measure gross change in tissue blood volume. Over the cardiac cycle, perfused tissue initially expands as the blood flow into the arterioles exceeds the flow through the capillary bed. Later in the cardiac cycle, the accumulated blood drains into the venous vasculature, allowing the tissue to return to its presystolic blood volume. Specific features in the plethysmographic waveform can be used to identify normal and abnormal perfusion. We are developing a Doppler strain-imaging technique to measure the local pulsatile expansion and relaxation of tissue analogous to the gross measurement of tissue volume change with conventional plethysmography. A phantom has been built to generate plethysmographic-style strains with amplitudes of less than 0.1% in a tissue-mimicking material. With Fisher's discriminant analysis, it is shown that normal and abnormal plethysmographic-style strains can be differentiated with high sensitivities using the Fourier components of the strain waveforms normalized to compensate for the variance in the strain amplitude estimate.


System and methods for tracking finger and hand movement using ultrasound

Record of Invention Number: 47931

John Kucewicz, Brian MacConaghy, Caren Marzban


10 Jan 2017

Supplemental Know How for Pushing, Imaging, and Breaking Kidney Stones

Record of Invention Number: 47878

Mike Bailey, Larry Crum, Bryan Cunitz, Barbrina Dunmire, Vera Khokhlova, Wayne Kreider, John Kucewicz, Dan Leotta


9 Nov 2016

Ultrasound based method and apparatus for stone detection and to facilitate clearance thereof

Patent Number: 9,204,859

Mike Bailey, Bryan Cunitz, Barbrina Dunmire, John Kucewicz, Oleg Sapozhnikov

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8 Dec 2015

Described herein are methods and apparatus for detecting stones by ultrasound, in which the ultrasound reflections from a stone are preferentially selected and accentuated relative to the ultrasound reflections from blood or tissue. Also described herein are methods and apparatus for applying pushing ultrasound to in vivo stones or other objects, to facilitate the removal of such in vivo objects.

More Inventions

Method and Apparatus for Ultrasound Dental Structure Scanning and Characterization

Record of Invention Number: 46462

John Kucewicz, Francesco Curra


30 Mar 2013

Method for Testing the Functionality of an Ultrasound Probe

Record of Invention Number: 45890

Peter Kaczkowski, John Kucewicz, Francesco Curra, Justin Reed


20 Dec 2011

Filtering Method for Supression of Non-stationary Reverberation in Ultrasound Images

Record of Invention Number: 45889

Francesco Curra, Justin Reed, John Kucewicz, Peter Kaczkowski


15 Dec 2011

Real-time Kidney Stone Tracking Algorithm

Record of Invention Number: 45556

Bryan Cunitz, Ray Illian, John Kucewicz


18 Mar 2011

Method of Detecting Kidney Stones Using Ultrasound

Record of Invention Number: 8633D

Mike Bailey, John Kucewicz


26 Mar 2010

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center