Echocardiographic contrast increases the yield for right ventricular pressure measurement by Doppler echocardiography

J Am Soc Echocardiogr. Nov-Dec 1989;2(6):419-24. doi: 10.1016/s0894-7317(89)80044-6.


Doppler ultrasound has become accepted as a measurement of right ventricular systolic pressure in patients who have a quantifiable signal from tricuspid regurgitation. This study evaluated the use of intravenous injection of saline solution for echo contrast to increase the percentage of quantifiable tricuspid regurgitant signals in patients who have any detectable tricuspid regurgitation at baseline. Patients underwent a standard Doppler evaluation, followed by a contrast study with the injection of 4 to 6 ml of agitated saline solution into a brachial vein. Baseline and contrast tricuspid regurgitant signals were assessed for quality, quantifiability, and reproducibility of the derived pressures by three observers on two occasions. The average absolute pairwise deviation among the three observers was low: 1.6 mm Hg (standard deviation, 1.4 mm Hg). The intraobserver mean discrepancy was low: 0.03 mm Hg (standard deviation, 2.33 mm Hg). Patients who did not have tricuspid regurgitation (n = 10) failed to develop such regurgitation during contrast injection. Only eight of 40 patients (20%) who had trace or mild tricuspid regurgitation had quantifiable baseline signals, but 34 patients (85%) had quantifiable signals with contrast injection. All patients who had mild to moderate, moderate, or severe tricuspid regurgitation (n = 10) had quantifiable signals before contrast injection. Of all patients who had any tricuspid regurgitation, 88% had quantifiable signals with contrast injection. Echo contrast was shown to improve the yield of quantifiable signals in patients who had trace and mild tricuspid.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Echocardiography
  • Echocardiography, Doppler*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Contraction
  • Pressure
  • Sodium Chloride*
  • Tricuspid Valve Insufficiency / diagnosis*
  • Ventricular Function


  • Sodium Chloride