Microbubbles

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 28 Jun 2019

Microbubbles are intravenous contrast agents used in contrast-enhanced ultrasound. Microbubble contrast agent is different to the agitated saline contrast agent often used in echocardiographic studies.

Microbubbles consist of a gas surrounded by a lipid, lipopolymer, or polymer shell. They range from 2-10 µm.

Microbubble shells are metabolized in the liver and the gas is exhaled.

Contraindications
  • right-to-left vascular shunt: pre-contrast screening not currently recommended
  • allergic reaction
  • intra-arterial injection

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