Microbubble contrast agents are currently implemented in a variety of both clinical and preclinical ultrasound imaging studies. The therapeutic and diagnostic capabilities of these contrast agents are limited by their short in-vivo lifetimes, and research to lengthen their circulation times is on going. In this manuscript, observations are presented from a controlled experiment performed to evaluate differences in circulation times for lipid shelled perfluorocarbon-filled contrast agents circulating within rodents as a function of inhaled anesthesia carrier gas.
The effects of two common anesthesia carrier gas selections - pure oxygen and medical air were observed within five rats. Contrast agent persistence within the kidney was measured and compared for oxygen and air anesthesia carrier gas for six bolus contrast injections in each animal. Simulations were performed to examine microbubble behavior with changes in external environment gases.
A statistically significant extension of contrast circulation time was observed for animals breathing medical air compared to breathing pure oxygen. Simulations support experimental observations and indicate that enhanced contrast persistence may be explained by reduced ventilation/perfusion mismatch and classical diffusion, in which nitrogen plays a key role by contributing to the volume and diluting other gas species in the microbubble gas core.
Using medical air in place of oxygen as the carrier gas for isoflurane anesthesia can increase the circulation lifetime of ultrasound microbubble contrast agents. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.