Harmonic ultrasound is a technique based on the principle of transmitting at frequency f and receiving at frequency 2f (or 1/2f). This technology has become available through the development of wide-bandwidth transducers. Microbubble contrast media produce a large amount of harmonic signal. Contrast harmonic ultrasound provides the opportunity to image patterns of high flow vasculature and overall perfusion. Regions of poor perfusion, including necrosis or infarction, can be identified with contrast harmonic ultrasound. While proportionately lower, tissues also produce harmonic signals. Tissue harmonic ultrasound sequences often improve subjective image quality compared to fundamental ultrasound in echocardiographic and abdominal examinations. This review will discuss the physical principles of harmonic ultrasound signal generation, medical and animal research applications, and an overview of current veterinary experiences.
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