Several agents are used as echocardiographic contrast agents, but their unreliability discourages routine clinical use. Studies from the early 1960s suggest that dilute hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a safe intravascular agent. Its use was evaluated in contrast echocardiography. To obtain dense opacification reliably, H2O2 (3%) was passed through a sterile 0.2 μ Millipore filter and diluted with heparinized saline solution to make a 0.1 to 0.2% solution. A drop of blood was withdrawn from an indwelling peripheral venous needle into a syringe containing 0.5 to 2.0 ml of the dilute H2O2 and the contents injected. Studies in dogs, normal adults and 36 patients with noncyanotic congenital and acquired cardiac disorders produced dense opacification with no complications. In vitro mixture of H2O2 (0.3%) with leukocyte-poor blood or plasma produced only a few microbubbles, while addition to whole blood or buffy coat produced many, suggesting a role for leukocyte peroxidase. H2O2 contrast echocardiography is simple, inexpensive, and reliably provides dense, sustained opacification. This study and previous studies suggest that intravenous injection of 0.2% H2O2 can be done safely. Great caution should be exercised in patients with severe pulmonary hypertension or large right-to-left shunts because little clinical experience with H2O2 is available.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine