Myocardial Contrast Echocardiography

Microbubble Echocardiography

A myocardial contrast echocardiography scan.

OHSU is the only hospital on the West coast to offer Myocardial Contrast Echocardiography (MCE) — a powerfully effective screening test for the early detection of coronary heart disease.  This non-invasive test uses microbubbles to quickly and accurately detect decreased blood flow in arteries.  It provides a more detailed, real-time ultrasound of the heart than traditional EKGs.

OHSU's Chairman of Cardiovascular Medicine, Sanjiv Kaul, M.D., pioneered the field of MCE because detecting heart attacks with traditional tests can be very difficult. They either take too long or don't always find blockages. Since the heart is always moving and contracting, getting a detailed image of what is happening is not easy.

How does microbubble technology work?

Doctors inject tiny bubbles the size of red blood cells into your veins that travel to your heart. The bubbles are acoustic, allowing doctors to follow the movements of your heart and get a much more accurate ultrasound.

OHSU is one of only a few hospitals in the country using microbubble technology to instantly detect heart attacks. Unlike traditional EKGs, which don't detect heart attacks up to 50% of the time, microbubble technology quickly gives doctors an accurate view of decreased blood flow to your heart.

Every patient who comes to the OHSU Chest Pain Center receives a microbubble test. If doctors discover you are having a heart attack, they can start giving you the right treatment immediately.