Color flow mapping

Katherine Ferrara, Gia Deangelis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Color flow mapping systems have become widely used in the short time since their development. These systems overlay a pseudo-color velocity map upon the gray-scale two-dimensional image. Between 4 and 16 pulses are directed to each line-of-sight, and this requirement reduces the frame rate in comparison with the gray-scale image. Other limitations of color flow mapping include its ability to estimate only the velocity toward or away from the transducer and an increase in the variance in comparison with spectral Doppler. Potential artifacts include aliased velocities and the detection of flow in hypoechoic or hyperechoic nonvascular structures. Clinical applications include cardiology, studies of the abdominal and peripheral vasculature, evaluation of organ perfusion and the differentiation of tumors. Most current systems use narrowband estimators that examine a fixed sample volume and detect a change in phase between two pulses. Wideband estimators that can track red blood cells in two or three dimensions are under evaluation. Narrowband estimators, including the autocorrelator, the short Fourier transform and second order autoregressive filters, are compared with wideband estimators including cross correlation, sum-absolute-difference and the wideband maximum likelihood estimator. Because the intensity of blood echoes is far smaller than echoes from surrounding tissue, high pass filters have been developed that can reject the larger signal from tissue using the return from a small number of pulses. Other areas of research include strategies for flow estimation with contrast agents, three-dimensional color flow mapping and power Doppler flow mapping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-345
Number of pages25
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Aliasing
  • Artifacts
  • Color flow mapping
  • Contrast agents
  • Doppler
  • Flow discrimination
  • Narrowband estimation techniques
  • Second harmonic imaging
  • Wall filters
  • Wide-band estimation techniques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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