Background: Myocardial contrast echocardiography (MCE) has potential value in the assessment and quantitation of myocardial perfusion defects. However, the severity of stenosis detectable by MCE and its diagnostic accuracy remain undefined. Thus, we produced coronary stenoses of variable severity and quantified their effect on MCE.
Methods and results: Three grades of left anterior descending (LAD) obstructions were produced in 7 open-chest swine. The stenoses were nonflow-limiting at rest, but decreased coronary hyperemia by 31.3% +/- 4.7%, 69.9% +/- 5.3% and 98.9% +/- 1.1%, respectively. Regional myocardial blood flow (RBF) was measured with fluorescent microspheres and was expressed as the ratio of LAD and control (LCx) beds. MCE was performed with 0.3 mg/kg intravenous AF0150 during ECG-gated harmonic imaging in short-axis view. Background-subtracted peak intensity (PI) was expressed as the ratio of LAD/LCx beds. Both RBF and PI ratios progressively decreased with increasing grades of stenosis. MCE showed a significant correlation with RBF (r = 0.74; P <.0001). Ratios of both PI and RBF differed significantly from baseline when coronary hyperemia was reduced more than 50%. An LAD/LCx ratio less than 0.6 by MCE yielded 61% and 83% sensitivity and 85% and 76% specificity with stenosis that reduced coronary hyperemia more than 50% and more than 75%, respectively.
Conclusion: MCE with intravenous AF0150 during vasodilation correctly depicted the progressive reduction of flow ratios produced by graded coronary stenoses. A significant reduction of PI ratio was observed with stenosis causing more than 50% reduction of coronary hyperemia. An MCE ratio in stenosed/control beds could be selected, which exhibited good sensitivity and specificity in the identification of coronary stenosis.