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J Am Coll Cardiol. 1999 Oct;34(4):1193-200.

Validation of a new noninvasive method (contrast-enhanced transthoracic second harmonic echo Doppler) for the evaluation of coronary flow reserve: comparison with intracoronary Doppler flow wire.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, S. Maugeri Foundation, IRCCS Medical Center of Rehabilitation, Cassano Murge, Italy.



We tested the hypothesis that coronary flow reserve (CFR) in the left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) as assessed by a new noninvasive method (contrast-enhanced transthoracic second harmonic echo Doppler) is in agreement with CFR measurements assessed by intracoronary Doppler flow wire.


Contrast-enhanced transthoracic second harmonic echo Doppler is a novel noninvasive method to detect blood flow velocity and reserve in the LAD. However, it has not yet been validated versus a gold-standard method.


Twenty-five patients undergoing CFR assessment in the LAD by Doppler flow wire were also evaluated by contrast-enhanced transthoracic Doppler to record blood flow in the distal LAD at rest and during hyperemia obtained by adenosine i.v. infusion. In five patients CFR was evaluated twice (before and after angioplasty).


As a result of the combined use of i.v. contrast and second harmonic Doppler technology, feasibility in assessing coronary flow reserve equaled 100%. The agreement between the two methods was high. In fact, in all but five patients the maximum difference between the two CFR measurements was 0.38. Overall, the prediction (95%) interval of individual differences was -0.69 to +0.72. Reproducibility of CFR measurements was also high. The limits of the agreement (95%) between the two measurements were -0.32 to +0.32.


Coronary flow reserve in the LAD as assessed by contrast-enhanced transthoracic echo Doppler along with harmonic mode concurs very closely with Doppler flow wire CFR measurements. This new noninvasive method allows feasible, reliable and reproducible assessment of CFR in the LAD.

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