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Circulation. 1998 Feb 10;97(5):473-83.

Quantification of myocardial blood flow with ultrasound-induced destruction of microbubbles administered as a constant venous infusion.

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Cardiovascular Division, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville 22908, USA.



Ultrasound can cause microbubble destruction. If microbubbles are administered as a continuous infusion, then their destruction within the myocardium and measurement of their myocardial reappearance rate at steady state will provide a measure of mean myocardial microbubble velocity. Conversely, measurement of their myocardial concentration at steady state will provide an assessment of microvascular cross-sectional area. Myocardial blood flow (MBF) can then be calculated from the product of the two.


Ex vivo and in vitro experiments were performed in which either flow was held constant and pulsing interval (interval between microbubble destruction and replenishment) was altered, or vice versa. In vivo experiments were performed in 21 dogs. In group 1 dogs (n=7), MBF was mechanically altered in a model in which coronary blood volume was constant. In group 2 dogs (n=5), MBF was altered by direct coronary infusions of vasodilators. In group 3 dogs (n=9), non-flow-limiting coronary stenoses were created, and MBF was measured before and after the venous administration of a coronary vasodilator. In all experiments, microbubbles were delivered as a constant infusion, and myocardial contrast echocardiography was performed using different pulsing intervals. The myocardial video intensity versus pulsing interval plots were fitted to an exponential function: y=A(1-e[-betat]), where A is the plateau video intensity reflecting the microvascular cross-sectional area, and beta reflects the rate of rise of video intensity and, hence, microbubble velocity. Excellent correlations were found between flow and beta, as well as flow and the product of A and beta.


MBF can be quantified with myocardial contrast echocardiography during a venous infusion of microbubbles. This novel approach has potential for measuring tissue perfusion in any organ accessible to ultrasound.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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