Evidence of Microbubbles on Kidney Stones in Humans

Julianna C. Simon, James R. Holm, Jeffrey Thiel, Barbrina Dunmire, Bryan W. Cunitz, Michael R. Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The color Doppler ultrasound twinkling artifact has been found to improve detection of kidney stones with ultrasound; however, it appears on only ∼60% of stones. Evidence from ex vivo kidney stones suggests twinkling arises from microbubbles stabilized in crevices on the stone surface. Yet it is unknown whether these bubbles are present on stones in humans. Here, we used a research ultrasound system to quantify twinkling in humans with kidney stones in a hyperbaric chamber. Eight human patients with non-obstructive kidney stones previously observed to twinkle were exposed to a maximum pressure of 4 atmospheres absolute (ATA) while breathing air, except during the 10-min pause at 1.6 ATA and while the pressure decreased to 1 ATA, during which patients breathed oxygen to minimize the risk of decompression sickness. A paired one-way t-test was used to compare the mean twinkle power at each pressure pause with baseline twinkling, with p < 0.05 considered to indicate significance. Results revealed that exposure to 3 and 4 ATA of pressure significantly reduced twinkle power by averages of 35% and 39%, respectively, in 7 patients (p = 0.04); data from the eighth patient were excluded because of corruption. This study supports the theory that microbubbles are present on kidney stones in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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