Grip strength tests were performed on hairless mice before and after various ultrasound exposures in a temperature-controlled water bath at 37°C. Lithotripter exposure of 800 shock waves produced no effect on hindlimb function. In contrast, 1.09-MHz exposures at 1 MPa with 10:100 ms burst mode did produce a statistically significant reduction in grip strength of about 60%. The exposure duration was important for the 1.0-MPa burst mode exposure, with grip-strength reductions appearing after 150 s or longer exposures. Continuous exposure at 3.3 W cm-2(0.32 MPa peak) for 200 s produced the same effect as burst mode exposure at 3.3 W cm-2(1 MPa peak) for 200 s, which implicates the temporal average intensity as an important factor. The temperature elevations for 1-MPa burst mode was estimated from thermocouple measurements in the spine to be 12°C after 200-s exposure. Although tests of exposures in cool (32°C) and warm (42°C) baths produced inconclusive results in regard to the thermal mechanism, the effects observed appear to result from ultrasonic heating (rather than from cavitation). Thus, any potentially harmful consequences associated with the effects examined might be related more, for example, to ultrasonic hyperthermia therapy than to shock-wave lithotripsy. Copyright (C) 1999 World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology.
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