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Contrast and Bubble/Saline Studies

What is it?

A substance called a contrast agent is used to help improve the quality of the images collected. The contrast is administered by a technologist or nurse using an intravenous (IV) line. A bubble study involves the injection of saline through an IV line. The use of contrast provides a valuable option for improving image quality and aiding with certain diagnoses. The contrast agent is generally very safe. It does not affect the kidneys and does not involve radiation.  There are very small risks of an allergic reaction, around 1 in 10,000 patients

What do I need to do?

No special preparation is required. 

Please bring a valid OHIP Card to your appointment.

Please arrive 10 minutes before your appointment to check in.

Let the technologist know if

You have a known or suspected heart or lung problem, 

Are allergic to perflutren (contrast agent), blood, blood products, albumin, or any medicines

Are or may be pregnant

Are breastfeeding

How long will it take?

Approximately 45 minutes.

What can I expect on the day of my test?

Shortly after you check-in, one of our Echo Technologists bring you into the exam room and conduct a brief interview explaining the procedure. You will then be asked to remove your shirt and lie flat on the examining table. The Echo Technologist will apply wires to monitor your heart rate and use a lubricant on your chest to help improve the quality of the images; this may feel cold. The Technologist will gently apply pressure to the probe against your chest wall as they take a variety of pictures of the size, structure and blood flow to your heart.

Your technologist will set-up an intravenous line in your hand or arm to administer a contrast agent or saline that will help to visualize your heart muscle better. 


Download additional information about contrast. 

For more information on safety, risks and benefits visit

contrast examples.JPG

Non contrast (left)   Contrast (right) provides improved visualization. 

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Non contrast (left)   Contrast (right) provides improved visualization. 

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