Background: Accelerated intermittent harmonic imaging (AII) is used to detect myocardial perfusion abnormalities after intravenous injection of ultrasound contrast medium. A low mechanical index and frame rates of 10 to 20 Hz are used to allow simultaneous wall motion analysis. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the myocardial contrast enhancement achieved with AII can be used to detect angiographically significant coronary artery disease during stress echocardiography.
Methods: We gave intravenous perfluorocarbon containing microbubbles to 45 patients (total of 270 regions) during dobutamine (n = 27) or exercise (n = 18) stress testing with AII. Quantitative angiography was performed on all patients after the stress echocardiograms were interpreted.
Results: Quantitative angiography showed >50% diameter stenosis of at least 1 vessel in 32 patients (total of 118 regions). There were visually evident contrast defects in 100 (85%) of these regions, and wall motion was abnormal in 64 (54%). Overall, there was agreement between regional perfusion and quantitative angiographic findings in 217 of the 270 regions (kappa = 0.61; 80% agreement). Agreement with findings at quantitative angiography was good for both dobutamine stress (kappa = 0.66; 83% agreement) and exercise (kappa = 0.53; 77% agreement). The greatest incremental benefit of AII versus wall motion was gained during dobutamine stress. The contrast studies depicted 90% of the regions supplied by a vessel with >50% stenosis, whereas wall motion depicted only 32% (P =.001).
Conclusions: The results of this study indicated that accelerated intermittent perfusion imaging during stress echocardiography can improve the sensitivity of the study in detecting angiographically significant coronary artery disease, especially during dobutamine stress.