Pitfalls in quantitative contrast echocardiography: the steps to quantitation of perfusion

J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 1993 Jul-Aug;6(4):395-416. doi: 10.1016/s0894-7317(14)80239-3.


Current methods used clinically to assess myocardial perfusion are invasive and expensive. As the technology of ultrasound imaging improves, CE may provide a relatively inexpensive, noninvasive means of quantitating myocardial perfusion. Issues regarding stability of microbubble contrast agents must be studied more closely under physiologic conditions. As such, encapsulated microbubbles may provide more stability under physiologic pressures than free gas microbubbles. Introducing high concentrations of contrast, either by hyperconcentrating the contrast agent or by increasing the injection rate, may provide greater stability under physiologic conditions. Further, before quantitative statement of tissue perfusion can be made, the relationship between tracer concentration and system response must be established. Further, a "linear" postprocessing ultrasound setting does not eliminate this requirement as data must still undergo nonlinear transformation during log compression and time-gain compensation. Additionally, issues regarding "electronic thresholding" must be explored more extensively in vivo. Commercial ultrasound scanners, in their present form, may not offer adequate sensitivity for absolute quantitative studies. Further development of modified ultrasound systems may provide sufficient sensitivity for quantitative perfusion imaging. CE offers a potentially powerful tool in the clinical management of patients with ischemic heart disease. Conventional coronary angiography provides information on the size of a lesion, but accompanying tissue perfusion distal to the lesion cannot be determined. Doppler ultrasonography determines velocity of blood flow in large vessels but does not offer the potential to quantitate tissue perfusion. Clearly, CE has a place in the future of diagnostic imaging. The recent work of Ito et al. demonstrated the qualitative potential of CE in the identification of "areas at risk" in patients who had undergone thrombolysis or percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty after an acute myocardial infarction. With further improvement in the ultrasound imaging techniques and microbubble stability, CE may offer an inexpensive, noninvasive means of assessing myocardial perfusion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Albumins
  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology
  • Contrast Media
  • Coronary Vessels / diagnostic imaging
  • Echocardiography / methods*
  • Humans
  • Microcirculation / diagnostic imaging
  • Microcirculation / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Perfusion


  • Albumins
  • Albunex
  • Contrast Media