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NEW ULTRASOUND IMAGING AGENT ALLOWS ASSESSMENT OF HEART REGIONAL BLOOD FLOW; STUDIES PROMISE IMPROVED DIAGNOSIS OF CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE

 ATLANTA, Nov. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Regional patterns of blood flow within the heart's chambers and muscle tissue can be assessed following simple intravenous injection of a new ultrasound contrast agent, according to preclinical studies presented here at the annual conference of the American Heart Association.
 Results from two independent animal studies showed that the imaging agent EchoGen(TM) (QW 3600) provided dense contrast, or "myocardial opacification," allowing for the assessment of cardiac chamber size, abnormal wall motion and blood flow through the heart muscle tissue -- "mycardial perfusion." The contrast agent did not display a significant loss of imaging contrast as it traveled from the right to the left heart chambers.
 Conducted at the University of California at San Diego Medical Center under the direction of Anthony DeMaria, M.D., professor of cardiology and chief of clinical cardiology, the first study showed that myocardial opacification can be achieved through routine intravenous injection of EchoGen. Typically, dense contrast enhancement of the heart muscle is only produced by direct catheter injection of a contrast agent into the left atrium, ventricle or aorta.
 A second study by Shintaro Beppu, M.D., and his associates at the National Cardiovascular Center, Research Institute, Osaka, Japan, corroborated DeMaria's results. Additionally, the Japanese researchers demonstrated that visualization and assessment of ischemia can be achieved with EchoGen following experimental blockage of the circumflex artery, a blood vessel that provides oxygenated blood to the heart muscle.
 Developed by Steven Quay, M.D., Ph.D., founder of Sonus Pharmaceuticals, EchoGen, is a liquid emulsion that undergoes a "phase shift" following injection. The liquid changes to small microbubbles of gas at body temperature that reflect sound waves emitted from an ultrasound imaging system. The highly echogenic microbubbles allow the clinician to easily observe the flow of blood as it passes from the right side of the heart, through the lungs and left ventricle, and into the heart muscle, or myocardium.
 Ultrasound systems use high-frequency sound waves to produce real- time images of soft tissues and internal body organs. This enables the physician to see continuous live-action of the heart under examination. Cardiac ultrasound is the most common test performed to evaluate and diagnose heart disease, the nation's leading cause of death.
 Currently, there are no Food and Drug Administration-cleared ultrasound contrasts to augment the 8 million cardiac studies performed in the United States. Designated to increase ultrasound's sensitivity and range of information, ultrasound contrast imaging agents are under development to address the cardiologist's need to assess heart-wall motion and to better evaluate regional patterns of blood flow within the heart and other abdominal organs.
 -0- 11/10/93
 /CONTACT: Tom Gable or Charles Versaggi, Ph.D., of Gable/Versaggi Biocommunications, 619-234-1300/ CO: Sonus Pharmaceuticals ST: California IN: MTC SU: PDT


MF-LM -- SD001 -- 2583 11/10/93 08:31 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 10, 1993
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