A computational framework for the multiphysics simulation of microbubble-mediated sonothrombolysis using a forward-viewing intravascular transducer

Zhi Q. Tan, Ean H. Ooi, Yeong S. Chiew, Ji J. Foo, Eddie Y.K. Ng, Ean T. Ooi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Sonothrombolysis is a technique that utilises ultrasound waves to excite microbubbles surrounding a clot. Clot lysis is achieved through mechanical damage induced by acoustic cavitation and through local clot displacement induced by acoustic radiation force (ARF). Despite the potential of microbubble-mediated sonothrombolysis, the selection of the optimal ultrasound and microbubble parameters remains a challenge. Existing experimental studies are not able to provide a complete picture of how ultrasound and microbubble characteristics influence the outcome of sonothrombolysis. Likewise, computational studies have not been applied in detail in the context of sonothrombolysis. Hence, the effect of interaction between the bubble dynamics and acoustic propagation on the acoustic streaming and clot deformation remains unclear. In the present study, we report for the first time the computational framework that couples the bubble dynamic phenomena with the acoustic propagation in a bubbly medium to simulate microbubble-mediated sonothrombolysis using a forward-viewing transducer. The computational framework was used to investigate the effects of ultrasound properties (pressure and frequency) and microbubble characteristics (radius and concentration) on the outcome of sonothrombolysis. Four major findings were obtained from the simulation results: (i) ultrasound pressure plays the most dominant role over all the other parameters in affecting the bubble dynamics, acoustic attenuation, ARF, acoustic streaming, and clot displacement, (ii) smaller microbubbles could contribute to a more violent oscillation and improve the ARF simultaneously when they are stimulated at higher ultrasound pressure, (iii) higher microbubbles concentration increases the ARF, and (iv) the effect of ultrasound frequency on acoustic attenuation is dependent on the ultrasound pressure. These results may provide fundamental insight that is crucial in bringing sonothrombolysis closer to clinical implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106961
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • Bubble dynamics
  • Bubbly liquid
  • Finite element modelling
  • Rayleigh–Plesset
  • Ultrasound wave

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