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Invest Radiol. 2001 Feb;36(2):104-9.

Clinical safety of SonoVue, a new contrast agent for ultrasound imaging, in healthy volunteers and in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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  • 1Bracco SpA, Medical Affairs, Milan, Italy.



To evaluate the safety profile of SonoVue, a new echo-contrast agent based on stabilized sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) microbubbles, in healthy volunteers and in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


Safety and tolerability of SonoVue were evaluated in 66 healthy volunteers during two placebo-controlled phase I studies (a single intravenous ascending-dose study in 36 volunteers given SonoVue doses of 0.003 to 0.12 mL/kg and a multiple-dose study in 30 subjects given cumulative doses of 0.15 to 0.6 mL/kg) and in 12 patients with COPD of various degrees of clinical severity, who were given SonoVue at a dosage of 4 mL (corresponding to 0.057 mL/kg in a 70-kg patient). Adverse events were monitored up to 48 to 72 hours after administration. All volunteers underwent extensive safety assessments (monitoring of vital signs, electrocardiogram, blood oxygen saturation, laboratory assessments, and Mini-Mental test) up to 24 to 72 hours after administration. In addition, patients with COPD underwent specific lung function tests, such as forced expiratory volume, forced vital capacity, and forced midexpiratory flow.


No serious adverse events occurred throughout the study. All nonserious adverse events were minor, mild, and rapidly self-resolving. No difference in the incidence of adverse events was observed among the various dosages of SonoVue and between SonoVue and placebo. There were no clinically significant changes in any of the safety assessments. No statistically significant differences between SonoVue and placebo were observed in mean forced expiratory volume, forced vital capacity, or forced midexpiratory flow levels. No substantial changes from baseline in blood oxygen saturation were observed for either study agent at any postinjection time point.


SonoVue showed a good safety profile both in healthy subjects and in patients with COPD.

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