Safety and efficacy of intravenous contrast imaging in pediatric echocardiography

C. J. McMahon, N. A. Ayres, L. I. Bezold, M. B. Lewin, M. Alonzo, C. A. Altman, J. P. Kovalchin, B. W. Eidem, R. H. Pignatelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This study was performed to determine the safety and efficacy of intravenous contrast echocardiography in children attending a tertiary cardiac center. This was a prospective study to evaluate the use of Optison contrast agent in children with severely limited transthoracic echocardiographic windows. Twenty children (median age, 15 years; range, 9-18) underwent fundamental imaging (FI), harmonic imaging (HI), and HI with intravenous contrast (Optison FS-069). Endocardial border delineation was determined based on a visual qualitative scoring system (0, none: 4, excellent). Endocardial border definition was significantly improved in all patients using contrast echocardiography (FI vs Optison, p < 0.001 for each). Improved border definition was most dramatic in the apical and left ventricular (LV) free wall regions. Left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) was measurable in 20 patients (100%) using contrast compared to 11 (55%) with FI or HI (p < 0.05). The echocardiographic diagnosis was correctly delineated in 1 patient with a severely dyskinetic LV segment only with use of intravenous contrast and HI. No patients suffered adverse hemodynamic effects, changes in taste, or flushing episodes. Three patients experienced transient headaches. Intravenous contrast echocardiography offers an additional tool in evaluating children with very poor transthoracic echocardiographic windows. Such a strategy increases diagnostic accuracy and allows accurate LVEF determination. Adverse hemodynamic effects related to intravenous contrast are exceedingly rare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-417
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Cardiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Congenital heart disease
  • Contrast echocardiography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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