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By John G. Webster (Editor)

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Extra resources for 61.Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control

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Short, intense, focused pulses of sound in the form of shock waves destroy kidney stones in a process known as lithotripsy. Indeed, a hundred thousand cases of kidney stones are treated with lithotripsy each year in the United States. Amazingly, the mechanism or mechanisms by which it works remain unclear. Early theories include compressive failure of the stone (87) and a process known as ‘‘spalling’’ (88). The first mechanism would occur if the peak pressure associated with the acoustic shock wave exceeds the compressive strength of the stone.

Although they go into great detail about those biological consequences, an important point to keep in mind now is how much time is required to kill cells at a given elevated temperature, following the important work done by Dewey and Sapareto (66). Briefly, for every 1ЊC increase in temperature above 43ЊC, where it takes approximately an hour to kill a given percentage of cells, the time necessary to kill the same percentage of cells via denaturation of proteins decreases by a factor of 2 so that at 50ЊC it takes approximately two minutes to kill cells.

Longer pulses of sound with high amplitude also alter the contraction of heart muscle in frogs (83). As yet no mechanism to create these bioeffects has been identified, although cavitation is likely, given the acoustic regime brought to bear in their studies. In principle, these results could be of concern to those who wish to use ultrasound only for diagnostic purposes. This is particularly true given the trend to increase the pulse amplitude of diagnostic ultrasound machines, which would enhance the opportunity for cavitation.

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61.Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control by John G. Webster (Editor)


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