Noninvasive cardiovascular imaging techniques are well-established for studying cardiovascular anatomy and physiology. Over the past decade contrast enhanced imaging techniques have been developed that are also able to characterize the molecular constituents of cardiovascular disease. In this regard, microbubble-and ultrasound-based techniques have the ability to assess a broad range of molecular components of cardiovascular pathology such as inflammation, recent ischemia, atherosclerosis, acute transplant rejection, angiogenesis, and thrombosis. The advantages of ultrasound-and microbubble-based approach include the ability to assess multiple molecular disease markers without exposure to ionizing radiation or prolonged imaging protocols. This review highlights the development of microbubble-based molecular imaging, describes successful experimental conditions in which they have been studied, and postulates the importance of translating this technique into the clinical practice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine