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Jeff Thiel

Research Scientist/Engineer II




B.S. Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound, Seattle University, 1992


2000-present and while at APL-UW

First series using ultrasonic propulsion and burst wave lithotripsy to treat ureteral stones

Hall, M.K., and 22 others including J. Thiel, B. Dunmire, and M.R. Bailey, "First series using ultrasonic propulsion and burst wave lithotripsy to treat ureteral stones," J. Urol., 208, 1075-1082, doi:10.1097/JU.0000000000002864, 2022.

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1 Nov 2022

Our goal was to test transcutaneous focused ultrasound in the form of ultrasonic propulsion and burst wave lithotripsy to reposition ureteral stones and facilitate passage in awake subjects.

Materials and Methods:
Adult subjects with a diagnosed proximal or distal ureteral stone were prospectively recruited. Ultrasonic propulsion alone or with burst wave lithotripsy was administered by a handheld transducer to awake, unanesthetized subjects. Efficacy outcomes included stone motion, stone passage, and pain relief. Safety outcome was the reporting of associated anticipated or adverse events.

Twenty-nine subjects received either ultrasonic propulsion alone (n = 16) or with burst wave lithotripsy bursts (n = 13), and stone motion was observed in 19 (66%). The stone passed in 18 (86%) of the 21 distal ureteral stone cases with at least 2 weeks follow‐up in an average of 3.9±4.9 days post-procedure. Fragmentation was observed in 7 of the burst wave lithotripsy cases. All subjects tolerated the procedure with average pain scores (0-10) dropping from 2.1±2.3 to 1.6±2.0 (P = .03). Anticipated events were limited to hematuria on initial urination post-procedure and mild pain. In total, 7 subjects had associated discomfort with only 2.2% (18 of 820) propulsion bursts.

This study supports the efficacy and safety of using ultrasonic propulsion and burst wave lithotripsy in awake subjects to reposition and break ureteral stones to relieve pain and facilitate passage.

Improving burst wave lithotripsy effectiveness for small stones and fragments by increasing frequency: Theoretical modeling and ex vivo study

Bailey, M.R., A.D. Maxwell, S. Cao, S. Ramesh, Z. Liu, J.C. Williams, J. Thiel, B. Dunmire, T. Colonius, E. Kuznetsova, W. Kreider, M.D. Sorensen, J.E. Lindeman, and O.A. Sapozhnikov, "Improving burst wave lithotripsy effectiveness for small stones and fragments by increasing frequency: Theoretical modeling and ex vivo study," J. Endourol., 36, doi:10.1089/end.2021.0714, 2022.

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5 Jul 2022

Introduction and Objective: In clinical trial NCT03873259, a 2.6-mm lower pole stone was treated transcutaneously and ex vivo with 390-kHz burst wave lithotripsy (BWL) for 40 minutes and failed to break. The stone was subsequently fragmented with 650-kHz BWL after a 4-minute exposure. This study investigated how to fragment small stones and why varying the BWL frequency may more effectively fragment stones to dust.

Methods: A linear elastic theoretical model was used to calculate the stress created inside stones from shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) and different BWL frequencies mimicking the stone's size, shape, lamellar structure, and composition. To test model predictions about the impact of BWL frequency, matched pairs of stones (1–5 mm) were treated at (1) 390 kHz, (2) 830 kHz, and (3) 390 kHz followed by 830 kHz. The mass of fragments > 1 and 2 mm was measured over 10 minutes of exposure.

Results: The linear elastic model predicts that the maximum principal stress inside a stone increases to more than 5.5 times the pressure applied by the ultrasound wave as frequency is increased, regardless of the composition tested. The threshold frequency for stress amplification is proportionate to the wave speed divided by the stone diameter. Thus, smaller stones may be likely to fragment at a higher frequency, but not at a lower frequency below a limit. Unlike with SWL, this amplification in BWL occurs consistently with spherical and irregularly shaped stones. In water tank experiments, stones smaller than the threshold size broke fastest at high frequency (p = 0.0003), whereas larger stones broke equally well to submillimeter dust at high, low, or mixed frequencies.

Conclusions: For small stones and fragments, increasing frequency of BWL may produce amplified stress in the stone causing the stone to break. Using the strategies outlined here, stones of all sizes may be turned to dust efficiently with BWL.

Fragmentation of stones by burst wave lithotripsy in the first 19 humans

Harper, J.D., J.E. Lingeman, R.M. Sweet, I.S. Metzler, P. Sunaryo, J.C. Williams, A.D. Maxwell, J. Thiel, B.M. Cunitz, B. Dunmire, M.R. Bailey, and M.D. Sorensen, "Fragmentation of stones by burst wave lithotripsy in the first 19 humans," J. Urol., 207, doi:10.1097/JU.0000000000002446, 2022.

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1 May 2022

We report stone comminution in the first 19 human subjects by burst wave lithotripsy (BWL), which is the transcutaneous application of focused, cyclic ultrasound pulses. This was a prospective multi-institutional feasibility study recruiting subjects undergoing clinical ureteroscopy (URS) for at least 1 stone ≤12 mm as measured on computerized tomography. During the planned URS, either before or after ureteroscope insertion, BWL was administered with a handheld transducer, and any stone fragmentation and tissue injury were observed. Up to 3 stones per subject were targeted, each for a maximum of 10 minutes. The primary effectiveness outcome was the volume percent comminution of the stone into fragments ≤2 mm. The primary safety outcome was the independent, blinded visual scoring of tissue injury from the URS video. Overall, median stone comminution was 90% (IQR 20, 100) of stone volume with 21 of 23 (91%) stones fragmented. Complete fragmentation (all fragments ≤2 mm) within 10 minutes of BWL occurred in 9 of 23 stones (39%). Of the 6 least comminuted stones, likely causative factors for decreased effectiveness included stones that were larger than the BWL beamwidth, smaller than the BWL wavelength or the introduction of air bubbles from the ureteroscope. Mild reddening of the papilla and hematuria emanating from the papilla were observed ureteroscopically. The first study of BWL in human subjects resulted in a median of 90% comminution of the total stone volume into fragments ≤2 mm within 10 minutes of BWL exposure with only mild tissue injury.

More Publications

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