Myocardial contrast echocardiography (MCE) is a noninvasive imaging technique that relies on the ultrasound detection of microbubble contrast agents. These agents are confined to the intravascular space thereby producing signal enhancement from the blood pool. This review encompasses many of the key concepts regarding the clinical application of MCE. The first section focuses on the composition, safety, and biokinetics of ultrasound contrast agents. Then we discuss new ultrasound imaging methodology that has been developed to enhance detection of contrast agent and to assess perfusion at the tissue level. Next, the clinical applications of contrast ultrasound are reviewed. These include enhancement of the cardiac chambers for better assessment of cardiac function and masses, myocardial perfusion imaging for the detection of coronary artery disease, and the assessment of myocardial viability and microvascular reflow. Finally, we discuss some of the future applications for MCE, which include molecular imaging of disease and drug/gene delivery. The overall aim of the review is to update the clinician on state-of-the-art MCE and how it can be applied in patients with cardiovascular disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine