The feasibility and clinical utility of myocardial contrast echocardiography in clinical practice: results from the incorporation of myocardial perfusion assessment into clinical testing with stress echocardiography study

J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2014 May;27(5):520-30. doi: 10.1016/j.echo.2014.01.028. Epub 2014 Mar 15.


Background: This prospective study investigated whether the incorporation of myocardial contrast echocardiography (MCE) into a clinical stress echocardiography service reproduces the benefits of assessing myocardial perfusion proved previously in research studies.

Methods: MCE was performed during physiologic and pharmacologic clinical stress echocardiographic studies, and the value of myocardial perfusion to the reporting echocardiologists was categorized as of benefit (subclassified as incremental benefit over wall motion [WM] or greater confidence with WM) or of no added benefit. The presence and extent of inducible ischemia by WM and myocardial perfusion were documented and correlated with angiographic results in patients who underwent cardiac catheterization.

Results: In total, 220 patients underwent simultaneous MCE during stress echocardiography by eight different operators. Overall, MCE was of benefit in 193 patients (88%), providing incremental benefit over WM in 25% and greater confidence with WM evaluation in 62%. MCE provided no added benefit in 27 patients (12%). MCE detected significantly more cases of ischemia than WM in the left anterior descending coronary artery territory (65% vs 53%, P = .02) and detected a greater ischemic burden than WM on a per patient basis (median, 5 [interquartile range, 3-8] vs 4 [interquartile range, 2-7] segments; P < .001) and across all coronary territories. MCE correctly identified a greater proportion of patients with multivessel disease than WM (76% vs 56%, P = .02) and a greater ischemic burden in patients with multivessel disease (median, 7 [interquartile range, 4-9] vs 5 [interquartile range, 1-8] segments; P < .001).

Conclusions: This prospective study is the first to demonstrate that the excellent feasibility and diagnostic utility of MCE, which have been documented in the research arena, are reproducible in the clinical arena.

Keywords: Coronary artery disease; Ischemia; Myocardial contrast echocardiography; Stress echocardiography.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Contrast Media
  • Coronary Artery Disease / complications
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Echocardiography, Stress / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myocardial Ischemia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Myocardial Ischemia / etiology
  • Myocardial Perfusion Imaging / methods*
  • Perfusion Imaging / methods*
  • Phospholipids*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sulfur Hexafluoride*
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / etiology


  • Contrast Media
  • Phospholipids
  • contrast agent BR1
  • Sulfur Hexafluoride