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Barbrina Dunmire

Senior Engineer






B.S. Aeronautics & Astronautics, University of Washington, 1989

M.S. Aeronautics & Astronautics, University of Washington, 1991

M.S. Bioengineering, University of Washington, 1998


SonoMotion: A Budding Start-up Company

A research team has developed new technologies to treat kidney stone disease with an ultrasound-based system. Embraced by clinicians, their advances are now being taken to the next step: transition the prototype to an approved device that will roll into hospitals and clinics around the world.

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11 Feb 2013

At the Center for Industrial and Medical Ultrasound a team of scientists, engineers, and students has developed an ultrasound-based system that may provide an office procedure to speed the natural passage of kidney stones. The system uses commercial ultrasound components to locate stones in kidneys. It creates clear pictures of them and then applies an acoustic radiative force, repositioning stones in the kidney so they are more likely to pass naturally.

As a research team, considerable technical advancements have been made and valuable feedback and cooperation has been garnered from the user community – the clinicians. The scientists, engineers, urologists, and commercialization experts are now collaborating to take the next steps.

SonoMotion has partnered with a hardware manufacturing company and licensed the ultrasonic propulsion of kidney stones technology with the University of Washington. The next big step will be to transition the prototype system into one that will pass the rigors of FDA review and be ready to roll into hospitals and clinics around the world.

Center for Industrial and Medical Ultrasound - CIMU

CIMU is a group of scientists, engineers, and technicians dedicated to research across the field of bio-medical ultrasonics with the goal of developing technologies that will be used in a clinic to treat patients.

1 Nov 2010


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Evidence of microbubbles on kidney stones in humans

Simon, J.C., J.R. Holm, J. Thiel, B. Dunmire, B.W. Cunitz, and M.R. Bailey, "Evidence of microbubbles on kidney stones in humans," Ultrasound Med. Biol., 46, 1802-1807, doi:10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2020.02.010, 2020.

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1 Jul 2020

The color Doppler ultrasound twinkling artifact has been found to improve detection of kidney stones with ultrasound; however, it appears on only ~60% of stones. Evidence from ex vivo kidney stones suggests twinkling arises from microbubbles stabilized in crevices on the stone surface. Yet it is unknown whether these bubbles are present on stones in humans. Here, we used a research ultrasound system to quantify twinkling in humans with kidney stones in a hyperbaric chamber. Eight human patients with non-obstructive kidney stones previously observed to twinkle were exposed to a maximum pressure of 4 atmospheres absolute (ATA) while breathing air, except during the 10-min pause at 1.6 ATA and while the pressure decreased to 1 ATA, during which patients breathed oxygen to minimize the risk of decompression sickness. A paired one-way t-test was used to compare the mean twinkle power at each pressure pause with baseline twinkling, with p < 0.05 considered to indicate significance. Results revealed that exposure to 3 and 4 ATA of pressure significantly reduced twinkle power by averages of 35% and 39%, respectively, in 7 patients (p = 0.04); data from the eighth patient were excluded because of corruption. This study supports the theory that microbubbles are present on kidney stones in humans.

Quantitative assessment of effectiveness of ultrasonic propulsion of kidney stones

Dai, J.C., M.D. Sorensen, H.C. Chang, P.C. Samson, B. Dunmire, B.W. Cunitz, J. Thiel, Z. Liu, M.R. Bailey, and J.D. Harper, "Quantitative assessment of effectiveness of ultrasonic propulsion of kidney stones," J. Endourol., 33, doi:10.1089/end.2019.0340, 2019.

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15 Oct 2019

Ultrasonic propulsion is an investigative modality to noninvasively image and reposition urinary stones. Our goals were to test safety and effectiveness of new acoustic exposure conditions from a new transducer, and to use simultaneous ureteroscopic and ultrasonic observation to quantify stone repositioning.

During operation, ultrasonic propulsion was applied transcutaneously, whereas stone targets were visualized ureteroscopically. Exposures were 350 kHz frequency, ≤200 W/cm2 focal intensity, and ≤3-second bursts per push. Ureteroscope and ultrasound (US) videos were recorded. Video clips with and without stone motion were randomized and scored for motion ≥3 mm by independent reviewers blinded to the exposures. Subjects were followed with telephone calls, imaging, and chart review for adverse events.

The investigative treatment was used in 18 subjects and 19 kidneys. A total of 62 stone targets were treated ranging in size from a collection of "dust" to 15 mm. Subjects received an average of 17 ñ 14 propulsion bursts (per kidney) for a total average exposure time of 40 ñ 40 seconds. Independent reviewers scored at least one stone movement ≥3 mm in 18 of 19 kidneys (95%) from the ureteroscope videos and in 15 of 19 kidneys (79%) from the US videos. This difference was probably because of motion out of the US imaging plane. Treatment repositioned stones in two cases that would have otherwise required basket repositioning. No serious adverse events were observed with the device or procedure.

Ultrasonic propulsion was shown to be safe, and it effectively repositioned stones in 95% of kidneys despite positioning and access restrictions caused by working in an operating room on anesthetized subjects.

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.

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Broadly focused ultrasonic propulsion probes, systems, and methods

Disclosed herein are ultrasonic probes and systems incorporating the probes. The probes are configured to produce an ultrasonic therapy exposure that, when applied to a kidney stone, will exert an acoustic radiation force sufficient to produce ultrasonic propulsion. Unlike previous probes configured to produce ultrasonic propulsion, however, the disclosed probes are engineered to produce a relatively large (both wide and long) therapy region effective to produce ultrasonic propulsion. This large therapy region allows the probe to move a plurality of kidney stones (or fragments from lithotripsy) in parallel, thereby providing the user the ability to clear several stones from an area simultaneously. This "broadly focused" probe is, in certain embodiments, combined in a single handheld unit with a typical ultrasound imaging probe to produce real-time imaging. Methods of using the probes and systems to move kidney stones are also provided.

Patent Number: 10,667,831

Mike Bailey, Bryan Cunitz, Barbrina Dunmire, Adam Maxwell, Oren Levy


2 Jun 2020

Ultrasound Based Method and Apparatus for Stone Detection and to Facilitate Clearance Thereof

Patent Number: 10,039,562

Mike Bailey, Bryan Cunitz, Barbrina Dunmire

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7 Aug 2018

Described herein are methods and apparatus for detecting stones by ultrasound, in which the ultrasound reflections from a stone are preferentially selected and accentuated relative to the ultrasound reflections from blood or tissue. Also described herein are methods and apparatus for applying pushing ultrasound to in vivo stones or other objects, to facilitate the removal of such in vivo objects.

Renal Needle Access Guide for Ultrasound Guided Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy

Record of Invention Number: 48366

Mike Bailey, Helen Chang, Barbrina Dunmire, Jonathan Harper, Katy Kuznetsova


26 Jun 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