Myocardial contrast echocardiography (MCE) has undergone many advances in the past several years through remarkable developments in contrast agent and ultrasound equipment technology. Microbubble ultrasound contrast agents can now safely transit the pulmonary circulation to provide opacification of the left ventricular cavity, improved endocardial border definition, and detection of myocardial perfusion. The role of contrast echocardiography in enhancing technically difficult images is now well established in clinical practice, and has proven especially useful in the stress and intensive care unit settings. Major progress has been made in the application of MCE for myocardial perfusion assessment in acute and chronic ischemic heart disease syndromes, and comprises the focus of this review. Advances in novel applications of contrast echocardiography, including targeted delivery of genetic and pharmaceutical materials, have also occurred, but remain in a preclinical phase. In summary, the combination of recent innovations in ultrasound equipment, and microbubble acoustics, allows for exciting exploration of the expanding role of contrast echocardiography in clinical practice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine