Background: Intravenous myocardial contrast echocardiography (MCE) cannot identify each perfusion area of coronary vessels separately. However, by destroying microbubbles passing through a specific vessel using high-power ultrasound during intravenous MCE, vessel-selective perfusion imaging (VSPI) may be feasible.
Methods: In 10 open-chest dogs, intermittent short-axis images were obtained during contrast agent infusion using an ultrasound system. For VSPI, a probe coupled to another ultrasound machine was placed on the proximal left circumflex coronary artery (LCx). High-power ultrasound pulses were transmitted to destroy bubbles passing through the LCx. A negative contrast area on VSPI was considered to represent the perfusion area of the LCx (LCx-VSPI). A negative contrast area on conventional MCE during LCx occlusion and a region without staining by Evans blue dye were used as gold standards for defining the LCx perfusion area. LCx-VSPI was compared with a negative contrast area on conventional MCE during LCx occlusion and a region without staining by Evans blue dye.
Results: Despite lack of LCx occlusion, high-power destructive pulses produced a definite area of negative contrast on the LCx region. Decreased power of ultrasound pulses resulted in disappearance of the negative contrast area. An excellent relationship was demonstrated between both LCx-VSPI and a negative contrast area on conventional MCE during LCx occlusion (r = 0.93, P <.0001), and LCx-VSPI and a region without staining by Evans blue dye (r = 0.92, P =.0002).
Conclusion: VSPI during intravenous MCE may be feasible for noninvasive assessment of perfusion areas associated with specific vessels.