At times it may be difficult to obtain clear images during your echocardiogram, If this is experienced, the Cardiac Sonographer or Physician may suggest using an echocardiographic enhancing agent in order to improve image quality and provide greater detail of the structure and function of your heart.
The contrast agent used at our facility is called Definity. This echocardiographic enhancing agent is made up of lipid encased gas microspheres that reflect sound waves from the ultrasound machine enhancing the details of your heart.
The contrast agent is always given by a qualified member of the Cardiology team. The technician will begin by inserting an IV catheter into your arm. Once the IV catheter is in place and the Cardiac Sonographer is ready, the contrast agent will be injected into the IV to mix with your blood. It will then take approximately five minutes to take the images needed. When the Sonographer has completed the images, the IV will be removed. The gas will naturally leave your body as you breathe.
As with any injection of a substance, there is a risk of an allergic reaction. Reactions can range from mild to severe. The incidence of a severe reaction is very rare. We have treatment available should a reaction occur. If you experience pain at the injection site, immediately notify the technologist.
WHO SHOULD NOT USE THE ECHOCARDIOGRAPHIC ENHANCING AGENT?
-Those who are or could be pregnant
-Those who are breastfeeding
-Those who have had perfluten contrast agent previously and had a reaction
-Those currently undergoing treatment for kidney stones
-Those who have been previously diagnosed with a ventricular septal defect (VSD), atrial septal defect (ASD) and/or a patent foramen ovale (PFO)