Ultrasound: Key Terms and Abbreviations

March 23, 2016 | Evaluations & Guidance


Many technical terms and acronyms are used in the field of diagnostic ultrasound, some of which can be confusing. To help, ECRI Institute has developed this detailed guide to key terms and abbreviations related to the modality. This list provides definitions, explains common acronyms, and offers context for how terms and phrases may be used in conjunction with one another.

2-D (Two-dimensional). A scanner's basic display that represents a cross-sectional slice (along the x-y scan plane) of the area under study. "2-D" is often used instead of "B-mode" (described below).

Acoustic coupling agent (also known as ultrasound gel). A substance, typically a gel, that is used to eliminate air at the transducer-patient interface so that the ultrasound signals transmitted from the transducer will travel into the patient and the returning echoes will travel from the patient back to the transducer. Several types of acoustic coupling agents are commercially available, including products that are sterile for use in intraoperative and other applications when sterility is required (e.g., ultrasound-guided biopsies).

Automated image optimization (AIO). This feature uses adaptive processing of data acquired during the examination to improve or "optimize" (1) B-mode image quality by altering parameters such as gain and dynamic range, or (2) Doppler data by adjusting the Doppler gain, scale, or angle, or the location of the color Doppler imaging or power Doppler imaging region of interest. The modes of operation that AIO can be used with vary by scanner model. Because AIO features allow users to quickly improve...

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