High resolution transcranial acoustoelectric imaging of current densities from a directional deep brain stimulator

Chet Preston, Alexander M. Alvarez, Andres Barragan, Jennifer Becker, Willard S. Kasoff, Russell S. Witte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective. New innovations in deep brain stimulation (DBS) enable directional current steering - allowing more precise electrical stimulation of the targeted brain structures for Parkinson's disease, essential tremor and other neurological disorders. While intra-operative navigation through MRI or CT approaches millimeter accuracy for placing the DBS leads, no existing modality provides feedback of the currents as they spread from the contacts through the brain tissue. In this study, we investigate transcranial acoustoelectric imaging (tAEI) as a new modality to non-invasively image and characterize current produced from a directional DBS lead. tAEI uses ultrasound (US) to modulate tissue resistivity to generate detectable voltage signals proportional to the local currents. Approach. An 8-channel directional DBS lead (Infinity 6172ANS, Abbott Inc) was inserted inside three adult human skulls submerged in 0.9% NaCl. A 2.5 MHz linear array delivered US pulses through the transtemporal window and focused near the contacts on the lead, while a custom amplifier and acquisition system recorded the acoustoelectric (AE) interaction used to generate images. Main results. tAEI detected monopolar current with stimulation pulses as short as 100 µs with an SNR ranging from 10-27 dB when using safe US pressure (mechanical indices <0.78) and injected current of ∼2 mA peak amplitude. Adjacent contacts were discernable along the length and within each ring of the lead with a mean radial separation between contacts of 2.10 and 1.34 mm, respectively. Significance. These results demonstrate the feasibility of tAEI for high resolution mapping of directional DBS currents using clinically-relevant stimulation parameters. This new modality may improve the accuracy for placing the DBS leads, guide calibration and programming, and monitor long-term performance of DBS for treatment of Parkinson's disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number016074
JournalJournal of neural engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


  • Parkinson's
  • acoustoelectric effect
  • current source density
  • current steering
  • deep brain stimulation
  • transcranial
  • ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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