Contrast echocardiography has achieved importance in the diagnosis of cardiac shunt lesions. The technique provides information about flow patterns and serves as an adjunct to identifying communications that may be too small to image, even with high resolution real time scanning. This report reviews clinical applications and experiences in the use of standard, peripherally injected echocardiographic contrast agents for the detection of atrial septal defect, ventricular septal defect and patent ductus arteriosus. The importance and development of transpulmonary contrast agents capable of crossing the pulmonary capillary bed to opacify the left ventricle are reviewed and experience with a variety of experimental echocardiographic contrast agents is presented. Agents opacifying the left ventricle after intravenous injection are capable of providing direct ultrasonic contrast imaging of congenital left to right shunts. Further, recent experience with an experimental standardized, gas-producing contrast agent in an open chest animal model with an experimentally produced ventricular septal defect suggests that a combination of an experimental right heart agent that produces a measurable and reproducible amount of contrast effect, with a videodensitometric system capable of quantifying both positive and negative contrast effects, may provide an ultrasonic method for evaluating the magnitude of cardiac shunts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine