Echocardiographic imaging of technically difficult patients in the intensive care unit: Use of optison in combination with fundamental and harmonic imaging

George K. Daniel, Mohit K. Chawla, Stephen G. Sawada, Irmina Gradus-Pizlo, Harvey Feigenbaum, Douglas S. Segar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


Previous studies of intravenous contrast agents have excluded patients in the intensive care unit. These patients remain among the most technically difficult to image with ultrasound. We studied the effect of different imaging modalities with and without intravenous contrast (Optison) on endocardial border visualization during echocardiography. Fifty patients in the intensive care unit (32 men, 24 on mechanical ventilator, 10 with chest bandages; mean age, 59 years; mean weight, 91.7 kg; mean height, 67.6 inches) were considered to have technically difficult images when the endocardium could not be visualized in at least 2 of the 6 segments in either apical view. Each patient was studied with the use of fundamental (F), harmonic (H), fundamental + Optison (F + O), and H + O techniques, with standard long-axis, short-axis, and apical 4- and 2-chamber views. Intravenous Optison (0.5 to 1.5 mL) was given before F + O and H + O imaging. There were no contrast-related side effects noted. All images were stored digitally in a quad-screen format. For each set of images, segments (n = 22) were given an endocardial border visualization score of 0 if not visualized, I if visualized in either systole or diastole, and 2 if visualized in both. There was stepwise improvement in endocardial border visualization, with mean endocardial border visualization score of 1.09 ± 0.83 (F), 1.33 ± 0.81 (H), 1.64 ± 0.62 (F + O), and 1.90 ± 0.35 (H + O). There was a statistically significant difference between each group (P < .001). The incremental benefit of Optison was greater with harmonic imaging than with fundamental (P < .001). The use of Optison is safe and effective in the intensive care unit. In combination with harmonic imaging, contrast provides maximal endocardial border delineation during echocardiographic imaging of technically difficult patients in the intensive care unit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)917-920
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Society of Echocardiography
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Cite this