Background: : The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of the second-generation ultrasound contrast agent (2nd GUCA) SonoVue on right ventricular (RV) dimensions and contractility and to investigate whether a dose-related interaction exists between the contrast agent and RV function.
Methods: : Twenty-eight pigs were randomly assigned to 3 groups for intravenous administration: a low-dose group (0.5 cc of SonoVue), a high-dose group (1 cc of SonoVue), and a control group (2 cc of normal saline). RV end-diastolic (EDD) and end-systolic dimension (ESD) and pulmonary pressure (PP) were measured, and the fractional shortening (FS%) was calculated before the administration of SonoVue or normal saline and after the return of the RV-EDD or PP to the baseline value. The time to reach maximal RV-EDD or PP value and the time until the return of RV-EDD or PP to the baseline value were also measured.
Results: : Contrast agent infusion was followed by an acute transient increase of RV-EDD, RV-ESD, FS, and PP in both the low-dose and high-dose groups, but the increase was greater in the high-dose group. FS and PP did not change significantly in the control group. A dose-dependent delay in the time from baseline to maximum RV-EDD and PP was detected in the high-dose group (P < 0.001 for both) as well as a delay in the return from maximum to the baseline values (P < 0.001 for both).
Conclusions: : Administration of the 2nd GUCA SonoVue is associated with an acute, transient, dose-dependent RV dilatation and an increase in pulmonary pressure with a consequent impact on RV contractility.