Twinkling artifact on color Doppler sonography: Dependence on machine parameters and underlying cause 102nd Annual Meeting of the American-Roentgen-Ray-Society Kamaya, A., Tuthill, T., Rubin, J. M. AMER ROENTGEN RAY SOC. 2003: 215–22


The objective of our study was to evaluate the color Doppler sonographic effect known as twinkling artifact.Struvite (ammonium magnesium phosphate) stone fragments, wire mesh, and a flat surface were scanned in a water bath with a sonography scanner using a high-frequency linear array probe fixed in a ring clamp. Pulse repetition frequency, color-write priority, gray-scale gain, and spectral Doppler gain were varied. Color and spectral Doppler modes were used.Twinkling artifact and spectral broadening were seen most intensely behind struvite stone fragments, and both were seen more strongly behind wire mesh with greater surface roughness than behind wire mesh with less surface roughness or a flat surface. The appearance of the twinkling artifact is highly dependent on machine settings. System noise measured on a flat surface generates a band-limited Doppler shift on spectral displays with a mean frequency shift of 0 Hz and a mean (+/- SD) absolute fluctuation of 86 +/- 10 Hz over a pulse repetition frequency range of 1250-10,000 Hz. Rough surfaces increase the spectral bandwidth.The appearance of the twinkling artifact is highly dependent on machine settings and is likely generated by a narrow-band, intrinsic machine noise called phase (or clock) jitter. Surface roughness secondarily broadens the noise spectrum. With a strongly reflecting, rough surface such as a renal stone, the high amplitude, broadband signal appears as random motion in color Doppler sonography. Understanding of the twinkling artifact may result in better use of its clinical appearance.

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View details for PubMedID 12490508