What is a Myocardial Contrast Echocardiogram?
Myocardial contrast echocardiogram (MCE) can detect capillary blood volume and, by virtue of its temporal resolution, can also assess MBF. This imaging technique of ‘destruction (or depletion) and replenishment’ requires the delivery of a series of high-energy ultrasound pulses to destroy (deplete) microbubbles in the myocardium. Ultrasound imaging is then continued either intermittently (during high-power imaging) or continuously (during low-power imaging) to observe contrast intensity and microbubble velocity.
Preparation – There are no special preparations to do a Myocardial Contrast Echocardiogram. On the day of the echocardiogram, eat and drink as you normally would. Take all of your medications at the usual times, as prescribed by your doctor.
Duration – 20 to 30 minutes.
What is a Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)?
A standard echocardiogram or Echo is obtained by applying a transducer to the front of the chest. The ultrasound beam travels through the chest wall (skin, muscle, bone, tissue) and lungs to reach the heart. Because it travels through the front of the chest or thorax a standard echocardiogram is also known as a TRANSTHORACIC echo.
At times, closely positioned ribs, obesity, and emphysema may create technical difficulties by limiting the transmission of the ultrasound beams to and from the heart. In such cases, your physician may select to get a transesophageal echo, where the echo transducer is placed in the esophagus or food pipe that connects the mouth to the stomach. Since the esophagus sits behind the heart, the echo beam does not have to travel through the front of the chest, avoiding many of the obstacles described above. In other words, it offers a much clearer image of the heart, particularly, the back structures, such as the left atrium, which may not be seen as well by a standard echo taken from the front of the heart. This is shown in the picture above (right).
Preparation – Before a Transesophageal Echocardiogram, tell your doctor if you have any problems with your esophagus, such as hiatal hernia, swallowing problems, or cancer.
On the day of a Transesophageal Echocardiogram, do not eat or drink anything for six hours before the test. Take all of your medications at the usual times, as prescribed by your doctor. If you must take medication before the test, take it with a small sip of water.
If you have diabetes and take medication or insulin to manage your blood sugar, please ask your doctor or the testing center for specific guidelines about taking your diabetes medications before the test.
Someone should come with you to your appointment to take you home, as you should not drive until the day after the test. The sedation given during the test causes drowsiness, dizziness, and impairs your judgment, making it unsafe for you to drive or operate machinery.
Duration – 30 to 45 minutes.