Adverse reactions to ultrasound contrast agents: is the risk worth the benefit?

Eur J Echocardiogr. 2005 Oct;6(5):363-6. doi: 10.1016/j.euje.2005.02.003. Epub 2005 Apr 1.


The introduction of ultrasound contrast agents has led to a marked improvement in diagnostic capabilities in echocardiography. As no serious adverse events were seen during the preclinical development phase, ultrasound contrast agents were thought to be safe. Recently, three fatal and 19 severe, non-fatal adverse reactions were reported in a post marketing analysis of more than 150,000 studies of Sonovue, which has led to the addition of several contra-indications for the use of this ultrasound contrast agent. Although a strong relationship was established between the non-fatal cases and administration of Sonovue, a causal relationship between the fatal cases and the use of Sonovue is debatable. Therefore, the risk associated with the use of this ultrasound contrast agent should be judged carefully, taking into consideration the prevalence of adverse effects of other contrast media and diagnostic procedures used in cardiology.

MeSH terms

  • Contrast Media / adverse effects*
  • Echocardiography* / methods
  • Humans
  • Risk Assessment


  • Contrast Media