Contrast echocardiography: current status and future directions.

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Contrast echocardiography is a family of ultrasound-based procedures, whereby acoustic enhancing agents, usually microbubbles, are administered by intravenous route and detected in order to improve diagnostic performance. This review describes: (1) the agents that have been designed for diagnostic imaging, (2) current clinical applications where either left ventricular opacification or microvascular perfusion imaging with myocardial contrast echocardiography have been demonstrated to provide incremental information to non-contrast echocardiography and (3) future diagnostic and therapeutic applications of contrast ultrasound that rely on unique compositional design of ultrasound-enhancing agents.

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