The International Contrast Ultrasound Society (ICUS)

Hospital offers improved cardiac ultrasound

New London Family Medical Center has added a new tool that helps enhance the image of the heart.

The hospital’s ultrasound department is using Definity, a contrast agent that improves the image quality of echocardiograms — also known as cardiac ultrasound.

Definity doesn’t contain dye, but rather is made up of tiny micro-bubbles that are biodegradable. When it is injected into a patient’s arm during an ultrasound exam, it passes through the patient’s circulatory system. When the ultrasound probe is placed over the patient’s heart, it reflects ultrasound signals, creating a clearer image of the heart. As the bubbles dissipate, the agent is breathed out of the body a few minutes after it is injected.

Definity isn’t used for all cardiac ultrasounds, but improves the image quality of the heart in some patients, said Michele Rollins, an echocardiographer in NLFMC’s ultrasound department.

“Definity enhances the image for the cardiologist to read the echo and move forward with other specialty exams, if needed, and a diagnosis,” Rollins said.

Bill Schmidt, president and CEO of NLFMC, said the hospital adopted the use of the contrast agent in response to requests from primary care providers, and it represents another example of NLFMC’s continued efforts to enhance patient care and convenience.

“Patients who need this contrast agent can stay right here in New London and no longer have to travel outside the area for the test,” he said

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