Author + information
- Received February 3, 1994
- Revision received July 7, 1994
- Accepted July 13, 1994
- Published online December 1, 1994.
- Victor Mor-Avi, PhD∗,1,
- Sanjeev G. Shroff, PhD,
- Kimberley A. Robinson, BA,
- Arthur F. Ng, MD,
- Bernard P. Cholley, MD,
- Richard H. Marcus, MD and
- Roberto M. Lang, MD, FACC
- ↵∗Address for correspondence: Dr. Victor Mor-Avi, M.C. 5084, The University of Chicago Hospitals, South Maryland Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60637.
Objectives. We used an isolated, crystalloid-perfused rabbit heart model to test the hypothesis that the phasic changes in left ventricular contrast are due to bubble compression and decompression during systole and diastole, respectively.
Background. Contrast enhancement of the left ventricular cavity has been shown to decrease during ventricular systole. This phenomenon has been attributed to pressure-induced microbubble destruction. Such destruction, if confirmed, would severely confound the quantitative interpretation of contrast echocardiographic data.
Methods. A fixed volume of contrast solution (5% human albumin and Albunex, ~400:1 ratio) was introduced into a latex balloon placed within the left ventricular cavity of an isolated paced rabbit heart preparation (n = 12). Instantaneous left ventricular pressure was measured using a high fidelity microtip catheter and digitized on-line. The beating heart was placed in a water tank, and ultrasound images wert obtained using a 7.5-MHz transducer and were recorded and digitized off-line at 12 frames/s. Simultaneously, the pacing signal was used for gated on-line acquisition of end-diastolic frames. A simple theoretic model based on surface tension physical principles was used to predict changes in bubble size and, consequently, the reflection intensity in response to the measured changes in left ventricular pressure.
Results. We found that under peak left ventricular systolic pressures ranging from 89 to 155 mm Hg, 1) end-diastolic videointensity decreased by 8 ± 6% (mean ± SD) over 25 consecutive heart beats; and 2) intracyclic variations in measured videointensity were in close agreement with the theoretic calculations: 80.1 ± 2.9% versus 80.2 ± 4.6% of diastolic videointensity at systole.
Conclusions. The major cause of systolic decrease in contrast enhancement is periodic bubble compression (as opposed to bubble destruction) induced by high systolic pressures. The minor progressive decrease in end-diastolic videointensity reflects the degree of instability of Albunex microbubbles under left ventricular pressures. However, the clinical impact of these destructive effects is likely to be only minor because of the rapid transit of microbubbles through the left heart chambers and myocardial microcirculation.
- Received February 3, 1994.
- Revision received July 7, 1994.
- Accepted July 13, 1994.