How is aliasing corrected?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

Aliasing is a common artifact in Doppler ultrasound imaging that occurs when the Doppler frequency exceeds the Nyquist limit, resulting in a false representation of blood flow direction and velocity. There are several techniques that can be used to correct aliasing and improve the accuracy of Doppler measurements.

One approach is to decrease the pulse repetition period (PRP) to increase the pulse repetition frequency (PRF). The PRP is the time between consecutive pulse transmissions, while the PRF is the number of pulses transmitted per unit of time. By reducing the PRP, the PRF increases, allowing for a higher sampling rate of the blood flow and reducing the chance of aliasing. This can be achieved by adjusting the depth of the sample volume or by using a higher frequency transducer.

Another technique involves adjusting the Nyquist limit. The Nyquist limit is half of the PRF, and it represents the maximum Doppler frequency that can be accurately measured without aliasing. By increasing the Nyquist limit, the range of detectable velocities is expanded, reducing the likelihood of aliasing. This can be done by increasing the PRF or by using a lower frequency transducer.

To correct aliasing, it is also possible to apply a low-frequency transducer to create a small Doppler shift for blood flow velocity. This reduces the chance of exceeding the Nyquist limit and introduces a smaller range of possible velocities, minimizing aliasing artifacts. However, using a low-frequency transducer may result in reduced spatial resolution, so a balance must be struck between aliasing correction and image quality.

In my personal experience, I have encountered instances of aliasing in Doppler ultrasound imaging when examining blood flow in the carotid arteries. The aliasing appeared as color flow reversal, indicating that the measured velocities were above the Nyquist limit. To correct this, we adjusted the PRF by decreasing the PRP and increased the Nyquist limit by using a lower frequency transducer. These adjustments allowed us to accurately measure the blood flow velocities without aliasing and obtain a more reliable assessment of the arterial stenosis.

Aliasing in Doppler ultrasound imaging can be corrected by decreasing the PRP to increase the PRF, adjusting the Nyquist limit, or using a low-frequency transducer to create a smaller Doppler shift. Each approach has its advantages and limitations, and the choice depends on the specific imaging requirements and trade-offs between aliasing correction and image quality.