Ultrasound contrast could bust clots

June 23, 1999

New research presented this month at the American Society of Echocardiography meeting in Washington, DC, indicates that the use of microbubble contrast agents with ultrasound scans of the heart can work to break up blood clots that cause strokes

New research presented this month at the American Society of Echocardiography meeting in Washington, DC, indicates that the use of microbubble contrast agents with ultrasound scans of the heart can work to break up blood clots that cause strokes and heart attacks. In a study presented June 14 at the ASE’s 10th annual scientific sessions, University of Nebraska Medical Center researchers compared the efficacy of ultrasound scans alone to ultrasound scans with an injection of perfluorocarbon microbubbles. Dr. Thomas Porter and colleagues discovered that adding the contrast to cardiac ultrasound therapy scans helped to dissolve blood clots.

Porter and his team did their research by producing a laboratory simulation of blood vessels with clots using tubing, saline, and clots gathered from pigs. Porter explained that the combination of ultrasound waves and microbubbles increased motion around the clots, causing them to fragment. The study points to another nonsurgical method of dispelling clots that lead to stroke or heart attack.

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