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National Association Endorses Recommendations for Contrast Agent Use in Heart Ultrasounds (Echocardiograms)
Date:11/4/2008

cant intracardiac shunts, and known hypersensitivity. Beyond the obvious benefits of being able to clearly see heart structures in patients with poor images, most commonly due to intervening fat and lung tissues, unique benefits include the following:

-- Contrast enhanced echocardiography in the emergency department can play

a useful role in the triage of patients with chest pain through

accurate, early diagnosis.

-- Contrast enhancement in technically difficult to image patients in the

intensive care unit (ICU) can be used to provide bedside assessment of

cardiac structure and function without having to resort to more invasive

procedures (such as placing a probe into the esophagus and stomach).

-- The accuracy of contrast echocardiography has been validated for the

qualitative and quantitative assessment of the heart chambers and should

be considered in patients in whom precise information is clinically

required - such as patients under consideration for medical devices or

potential heart transplant.

"Those in the medical field concerned about the safety of ultrasound contrast agents should consider the proven efficacy, the previously established safety of these compounds, and the potential risk of alternative procedures," said Dr. William A. Zoghbi, President of the American Society of Echocardiography. "Ultrasound contrast agents have been safely and effectively used in echocardiography studies performed in the echo lab, emergency department, ICU, interventional cardiology suite, and operating room."

ASE also noted that contrast agent use is cost-effective when used in an appropriate and efficient manner. Contrast echocardiography can convert a technically difficult, nondiagnostic stress echocardiogram into an accurate diagnostic study and avoid either an unachievable, missed or wrong diagnosis. This obviates the need for putting the
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SOURCE The American Society of Echocardiography
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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