Contrast Echocardiography for Myocardial Perfusion Imaging Using Intravenous Agents: Progress and Promises
European Journal of Echocardiography
Aims: This article is a convenient overview to assist the interested echocardiographist towards acquiring his own experience in the field of myocardial perfusion imaging using intravenous contrast agents. This goal is now pursued in many centres, since contrast echo holds the advantages of cardiac ultrasound (non-invasiveness, high spatial and temporal resolution, wide availability, use of non-ionizing radiation), and because a variety of transpulmonary agents -together with a spectrum of
... g modalities -are becoming available. Methods and results: Many technical considerations need to be addressed for optimal myocardial perfusion imaging: characteristics of the contrast medium (air-filled or perfluorocarbon filled and/or encapsulated agents), modality of administration (bolus injection or continuous infusion) and interaction between microbubbles and ultrasound (dependency on power output). Moreover, intermittent harmonic imaging, intermittent harmonic power Doppler, pulse inversion and amplitude modulation imaging have all been developed to enhance microbubble detection over myocardial tissue. These new acquisition modalities also yield specific artifacts impacting on myocardial perfusion assessment. Finally, acute myocardial infarction and chronic ischaemic heart disease (at baseline and during stress) are the most studied clinical models for perfusion imaging with contrast echo, and are reviewed in this article. Conclusion: Perfusion imaging with intravenous contrast agents has never been as close to widespread clinical use as it is today, but many methodological issues remain unsettled before the wish of the contrast echocardiographist comes true: that is, a cheap, user-friendly and widely available technology that would disclose new information in echocardiography.