Venous injection of Albunex does not consistently produce left ventricular (LV) cavity opacification during conventional echocardiography. We postulated that by increasing the signal-to-noise ratio, harmonic imaging will result in more successful LV cavity opacification and provide a better assessment of regional LV systolic function. Forty-two patients with poor baseline endocardial delineation were given 10 ml intravenous injections of Albunex during continuous fundamental and harmonic imaging. Change in segmental wall-thickening scores and the confidence levels for these scores were assessed for 3 observers with various levels of experience. Compared with fundamental imaging, harmonic imaging significantly improved the success of LV cavity opacification (83% vs 62%, p <0.05). The background-subtracted video intensity within the central two thirds of the LV cavity increased threefold (from 10 ± 15 to 31 ± 29, p <0.05) with harmonic imaging. The spatial extent of opacification increased from 40% of the LV cavity during fundamental imaging to 65% with harmonic imaging (p < 0.001). The confidence level for assessing regional LV systolic function improved (p <0.05) after contrast administration, particularly when observer experience was limited. We conclude that in patients with poor endocardial definition, injection of intravenous Albunex should be combined with harmonic imaging to improve LV cavity opacification.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine