Usefulness of myocardial contrast echocardiography using low-power continuous imaging early after acute myocardial infarction to predict late functional left ventricular recovery

Am J Cardiol. 2003 Sep 1;92(5):493-7. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9149(03)00713-6.


Microvascular perfusion is a prerequisite for ensuring viability early after acute myocardial infarction (AMI). For adequate assessment of myocardial perfusion, both myocardial blood volume and velocity need to be evaluated. Due to its high frame rate, low-power continuous myocardial contrast echocardiography (MCE) can rapidly assess these parameters of myocardial perfusion. We hypothesized that the technique can accurately differentiate necrotic from viable myocardium after reperfusion therapy in AMI. Accordingly, 50 patients underwent low-power continuous MCE using intravenous Optison (Amersham Health, Amersham, Middlesex, United Kingdom) 7 to 10 days after AMI. Myocardial perfusion (contrast opacification assessed over 15 cardiac cycles after the destruction of microbubbles with high energy pulses) and wall thickening were assessed at baseline. Regional and global left ventricular (LV) function was reassessed after 12 weeks. Out of the 297 dysfunctional segments, MCE detected no contrast enhancement during 15 cardiac cycles in 172 segments, of which 160 (93%) failed to show improvement. MCE demonstrated contrast opacification during 15 cardiac cycles in 77 segments, of which 65 (84%) showed recovery of function. The greater the extent and intensity of contrast opacification, the better the LV function at 3 months (p <0.001, r = -0.91). Almost all patients (94%) with <20% perfusion in dysfunctional myocardium (assessing various cut-offs) failed to demonstrate an improvement in LV function. MCE and peak creatine kinase proved to be independent predictors of functional recovery (p <0.001). In conclusion, low-power continuous MCE is an accurate and rapid bedside technique to identify microvascular perfusion after AMI. This technique may be utilized to reliably predict late recovery of function in dysfunctional myocardium after AMI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Albumins*
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Contrast Media*
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Echocardiography / methods*
  • Echocardiography / standards
  • Female
  • Fluorocarbons*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnostic imaging*
  • Myocardial Infarction / metabolism
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy
  • Myocardial Reperfusion
  • Necrosis
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Recovery of Function
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Stroke Volume
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventricular Function, Left*


  • Albumins
  • Contrast Media
  • FS 069
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Creatine Kinase