Objectives. The aim of this study was to evaluate myocardial contrast echocardiography using aortic root injections with harmonic imaging in experimental acute myocardial infarction to determine the potential of this approach in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. Background. It would be desirable to have an adjunctive procedure that could evaluate myocardial perfusion at the time of cardiac catheterization in patients with acute myocardial infarction. A single injection of contrast medium in the aortic root would provide complete information on myocardial perfusion in a cross section of the heart. High quality images would provide on-line assessment of myocardial perfusion without recourse to image processing. These data could be very valuable for determining patient management. Methods. Perfusion defects on myocardial contrast echocardiography were measured during coronary occlusion and reflow, using fundamental and harmonic imaging in both continuous and intermittent modes in nine open chest dogs. These defects were compared with risk area on technetium-99m autoradiography and infarct size on tissue staining. Results. Whereas harmonic imaging increased myocardial video intensity by more than twofold (p <0.001) compared with fundamental imaging after aortic root injection of contrast medium, intermittent imaging was not superior to continuous imaging. The improved signal to noise ratio of harmonic imaging allowed on-line definition of risk area (r = 0.98) and infarct size (r = 0.93) without recourse to off-line processing. Similar results could be obtained with fundamental imaging only after off-line processing. Conclusions. Aortic root injections of contrast medium coupled with harmonic imaging can be used to provide accurate on-line assessment of risk area and infarct size during acute myocardial infarction. These results have important implications for the catheterization laboratory.
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