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Adam Maxwell

Research Assistant Professor, Urology






PIXUL: PIXelated ULtrasound Speeds Disease Biomarker Search

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26 Apr 2018

Accurate assessment of chromatin modifications can be used to improve detection and treatment of various diseases. Further, accurate assessment of chromatin modifications can have an important role in designing new drug therapies. This novel technology applies miniature ultrasound transducers to shear chromatin in standard 96-well microplates. PIXUL saves researchers hours of sample preparation time and reduces sample degradation.

Mechanical Tissue Ablation with Focused Ultrasound

An experimental noninvasive surgery method uses nonlinear ultrasound pulses to liquefy tissue at remote target sites within a small focal region without damaging intervening tissues.

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23 Mar 2017

Boiling histotripsy utilizes sequences of millisecond-duration HIFU pulses with high-amplitude shocks that form at the focus by nonlinear propagation effects. Due to strong attenuation of the ultrasound energy at the shocks, these nonlinear waves rapidly heat tissue and generate millimeter-sized boiling bubbles at the focus within each pulse. Then the further interaction of subsequent shocks with the vapor cavity causes tissue disintegration into subcellular debris through the acoustic atomization mechanism.

The method was proposed at APL-UW in collaboration with Moscow State University (Russia) and now is being evaluated for various clinical applications. It has particular promise because of its important clinical advantages: the treatment of tissue volumes can be accelerated while sparing adjacent structures and not injuring intervening tissues; it generates precisely controlled mechanical lesions with sharp margins; the method can be implemented in existing clinical systems; and it can be used with real-time ultrasound imaging for targeting, guidance, and evaluation of outcomes. In addition, compared to thermal ablation, BH may lead to faster resorption of the liquefied lesion contents.

Burst Wave Lithotripsy: An Experimental Method to Fragment Kidney Stones

CIMU researchers are investigating a noninvasive method to fragment kidney stones using ultrasound pulses rather than shock waves. Consecutive acoustic cycles accumulate and concentrate energy within the stone. The technique can be 'tuned' to create small fragments, potentially improving the success rate of lithotripsy procedures.

20 Nov 2014


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Simulation of laser lithotripsy-induced heating in the urinary tract

Maxwell, A.D., B. MacConaghy, J.D. Harper, A.H. Aldoukhi, T.L. Hall, and W.W. Roberts, "Simulation of laser lithotripsy-induced heating in the urinary tract," J. Endourol., 33, doi:10.1089/end.2018.0485, 2019.

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15 Feb 2019

Purpose: Holmium laser lithotripsy is a common modality used to fragment urinary stones during ureteroscopy. Laser energy deposited during activation produces heat and potentially causes thermal bioeffects. We aimed to characterize laser-induced heating through a computational simulation.

Materials and Methods: A finite-element model was developed and used to estimate temperature in the urinary tract. Axisymmetric models of laser lithotripsy in a renal calyx, the renal pelvis, and proximal ureter were created. Heat generation by laser and heat transfer were simulated under different laser powers between 5 and 40 W. Irrigation fluid flow was introduced at rates between 0 and 40 mL/min. The model was validated by comparison with previous in vitro temperature data in a test tube, then used to calculate heating and thermal dose in the three tissue models.

Results: Simulated temperature rises agreed well with most in vitro experimental measurements. In tissue models, temperature rises depended strongly on laser power and irrigation rate, and to a lesser extent on location. Injurious temperatures were reached for 5–40 W laser power without irrigation, >10 W with 5 mL/min irrigation, 40 W with 15 mL/min irrigation, and were not found at 40 mL/min irrigation. Tissue injury volumes up to 2.3 cm3 were calculated from thermal dose.

Conclusions: The results suggest a numerical model can accurately simulate the thermal profile of laser lithotripsy. Laser heating is strongly dependent on parameters and may cause a substantial temperature rise in the fluid in the urinary tract and surrounding tissue under clinically relevant conditions.

The impact of dust and confinement on fragmentation of kidney stones by shockwave lithotripsy in tissue phantoms

Randad, A., J. Ahn, W. Kreider, M.R. Bailey, J.D. Harper, M.D. Sorensen, and A.D. Maxwell, "The impact of dust and confinement on fragmentation of kidney stones by shockwave lithotripsy in tissue phantoms," J. Endourol., EOR, doi:10.1089/end.2018.0516, 2019.

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1 Feb 2019

Objective: The goal was to test whether stone composition and kidney phantom configuration affected comminution in extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (SWL) laboratory tests. Confinement may enhance the accumulation of dust and associated cavitation bubbles in the fluid surrounding the stone. It is known that high shockwave delivery rates in SWL are less effective because bubbles generated by one shockwave do not have sufficient time to dissolve, thereby shielding the next shockwave.

Materials and Methods: Experiments were conducted with a lithotripter coupled to a water bath. The rate of comminution was measured by weighing fragments over 2 mm at 5-minute time points. First, plaster and crystal stones were broken in four phantoms: a nylon wire mesh, an open polyvinyl chloride (PVC) cup, a closed PVC cup, and an anatomical kidney model — the phantoms have decreasing fluid volumes around the stone. Second, the fluid volume in the kidney model was flushed with water at different rates (0, 7, and 86 mL/min) to remove dust.

Results: The efficiency of breakage of stones decreases for the dust emitting plaster stones (percentage of breakage in 5 minutes decreased from 92% ± 2% [n = 3] in wire mesh to 19% ± 3% [n = 3] in model calix) with increasing confinement, but not for the calcite crystal stones that produced little dust (percentage of breakage changed from 87% ± 3% [n = 3] in wire mesh to 81% ± 3% [n = 3] in kidney model). Flushing the kidney phantom at the fastest rate improved comminution of smaller plaster stones by 27%.

Conclusions: Phantoms restricting dispersion of dust were found to affect stone breakage in SWL and in vitro experiments should replicate kidney environments. The dust around the stone and potential cavitation may shield the stone from shockwaves and reduce efficacy of SWL. Understanding of stone composition and degree of hydronephrosis could be used to adapt patient-specific protocols.

Impact of stone type on caviation in burst wave lithotripsy

Hunter, C., A.D. Maxwell, B. Cunitz, B. Dunmire, M.D. Sorensen, J.C. Williams Jr., A. Randad, M. Bailey, and W. Kreider, "Impact of stone type on caviation in burst wave lithotripsy," Proc. Mtgs. Acoust., 35, 020005, doi:10.1121/2.0000950, 2018.

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26 Dec 2018

Proceedings, 176th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, 5-9 November 2018, Victoria, BC, Canada.

Non-invasive kidney stone treatments such as shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) and burst wave lithotripsy (BWL) rely on the delivery of pressure waves through tissue to the stone. In both SWL and BWL, the potential to hinder comminution by exciting cavitation proximal to the stone has been reported. To elucidate how different stones alter prefocal cavitation in BWL, different natural and synthetic stones were treated in vitro using a therapy transducer operating at 350 kHz (peak negative pressure 7 MPa, pulse length 20 cycles, pulse repetition frequency 10 Hz). Stones were held in a confined volume of water designed to mimic the geometry of a kidney calyx, with the water filtered and degassed to maintain conditions for which the cavitation threshold (in the absence of a stone) matches that from in vivo observations. Stone targeting and cavitation monitoring were performed via ultrasound imaging using a diagnostic probe aligned coaxially with the therapy transducer. Quantitative differences in the extent and location of cavitation activity were observed for different stone types — e.g., stones (natural and synthetic) that are known to be porous produced larger prefocal cavitation clouds. Ongoing work will focus on correlation of such cavitation metrics with stone fragmentation.

More Publications


Time-reversal based ultrasound system for processing biological samples

Record of Invention Number: 48375

Brian MacConaghy, Adam Maxwell


10 Jul 2018

Targeting Methods and Devices for Non-invasive Therapy Delivery

Record of Invention Number: 48305

Bryan Cunitz, Mike Bailey, Barbrina Dunmire, Michael Kennedy Hall, Adam Maxwell, Matthew Sorenson


11 Apr 2018

Audio Feedback for Improving the Accuracy of BWL Targeting

Record of Invention Number: 48254

Mike Bailey, Bryan Cunitz, Barbrina Dunmire, Christopher Hunter, Wayne Kreider, Adam Maxwell, Yak-Nam Wang


25 Jan 2018

More Inventions

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center