Quantitative assessment of myocardial perfusion during graded coronary stenosis by real-time myocardial contrast echo refilling curves

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2001 Jan;37(1):262-9. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(00)01046-9.


Objectives: The present study examined the ability of real-time myocardial contrast echocardiography (MCE) to delineate abnormalities produced by graded coronary stenoses and to correlate signal intensity (SI) parameters derived from destruction/refilling curves with regional myocardial blood flow (MBF) and contractile function.

Background: Recent technological advances have enabled myocardial opacification by MCE to be achieved during real-time imaging.

Methods: In eight open-chest dogs, we created LAD occlusion and graded stenoses that were either flow-limiting at rest (FLS) or reduced adenosine hyperemia (non-flow-limiting at rest = NFLS). Myocardial contrast echo used Optison infusion and low-energy real-time power pulse inversion imaging. High-energy FLASH frames destroyed bubbles every 15 cardiac cycles. Myocardial SI-versus-time plots were fitted to a one-exponential function to obtain the rate of SI rise (b) and peak SI in the last frame.

Results: Dyssynergy was not observed during any NFLS, but perfusion abnormalities were. Visual detection of decreased opacification was possible with severe NFLS and FLS. b demonstrated a significant reduction with severe NFLS and near significant with moderate NFLS; peak SI did not. All exponential parameters were significantly decreased with FL stenosis and occlusion. The MBF ratio in LAD/LCx beds (fluorescent microspheres) correlated with b (r = 0.79) and the product of the peak SI and b (r = 0.80).

Conclusions: In an open-chest dog model, parameters derived from microbubble refilling of the imaging field by real-time MCE correlate well with myocardial blood flow and can identify coronary stenosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Albumins*
  • Animals
  • Contrast Media*
  • Coronary Circulation / physiology
  • Coronary Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Disease / physiopathology
  • Dogs
  • Echocardiography*
  • Fluorocarbons*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Myocardial Contraction / physiology
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnostic imaging*
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology


  • Albumins
  • Contrast Media
  • FS 069
  • Fluorocarbons