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JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2010 Feb;3(2):204-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmg.2009.09.021.

Molecular imaging of myocardial and vascular disorders with ultrasound.

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Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon 97239, USA.


Methods for noninvasive imaging of specific disease-related molecular changes are being developed in order to expand and improve diagnostic capabilities and to enhance therapeutic decision making in the clinical setting. These new techniques have also started to be incorporated into research programs in order to better characterize pathophysiology or evaluate treatment efficacy. Molecular imaging with contrast-enhanced ultrasound relies on the detection of the acoustic signal produced by either microbubbles or other acoustically active particulate agents that are targeted to sites of disease. This review describes the progress that has been made in the development and testing of methods for contrast ultrasound molecular imaging of cardiovascular disease. Specifically, topics that will be addressed include: 1) the bioengineering and detection schemes for targeted probes; 2) specific disease processes (myocardial ischemia, atherosclerosis, and transplant rejection) where molecular imaging may play a role; and 3) the potential role of ultrasound as a molecular imaging technique.

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