Cavitation is a major fracture mechanism in extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). However, it can cause tissue trauma and its effects on kidney stones and surrounding tissue are not fully understood. Therefore experimental setups enabling systematic parameter studies are crucial. We developed and evaluated a testing rig comprising three measuring methods in order to examine this mechanism. Our initial evaluation of this setup based on standard components showed promising results. Primary cavitation was displayed by high-speed photography 195 μs after the shock front had passed the focal zone. The effect of different pulse repetition rates (30, 60, 90, 120 SW/min) on the extension of the cavitation area was determined. The lifetime of secondary cavitation was analysed by B-mode ultrasound imaging. In a post processing progress the images showing bubbles were compared to a reference picture for both types of cavitation and the number of pixels that changed colour was counted. Furthermore stone comminution at different pulse repetition rates (30, 60, 90, 120 SW/min) was investigated by fixed-dose fragmentation. We observed an inverse correlation of cavitation and fragmentation. As the pulse repetition rate increases, the area of primary cavitation grows whereas the fragmentation efficiency decreases. B-mode imaging showed that secondary cavitation bubbles persisted between the shocks and can serve as nuclei. The higher the pulse repetition rate is, the more of these nuclei remain and thus facilitate formation of primary cavitation. The experimental setup provides reproducible results regarding the development of primary and secondary cavitation on the one hand and the fragmentation of phantom stones on the other hand. Therefore it can be utilized to further investigate the effect of different boundary conditions and shock wave parameters on cavitation and stone comminution. The impact of different focal sound fields is subject of ongoing research.
© 2018 the author(s), published by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston
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