Cardiac Bubble Study Ultrasound

What is a Cardiac Bubble Study?

An echocardiogram is performed to obtain images of the heart and the areas around the heart. In order to obtain a better picture, a material called "contrast" is used during the ultrasound. When saline (sterile salt water) is used as contrast, the ultrasound is called a bubble study.
 

How is this test performed?

During a bubble study, the doctor will shake the salt water until it forms small bubbles. The bubbles are then injected into the vein through an intravenous line (IV).
 
In a normal heart, the bubbles are filtered by the lungs and seen only on the right side of the heart. If the bubbles are seen on the lift side of the heart, it demonstrates that there is an opening between the two sides of the heart, which is an abnormal finding. This study helps to identify abnormalities in the heart.
 

What should I expect during this test?

The bubble study is very simple and usually only adds a few minutes to the echocardiogram test.
 

Are there risks associated with a cardiac bubble study?

The bubble study is extremely safe. There is a small risk of bruising or infection from the placement of the IV line.