Ultrasound examinations of the heart and major peripheral arteries have been performed as separate procedures; both potentially limited by suboptimal views in certain subjects and the inability to obtain ideal pictures of particular intracardiac structures. Transvenous ultrasound may offer new advantages in certain areas, we therefore studied six adult baboons using a single-plane 5.5–10 MHz transducer mounted on a 10 French (10F) catheter, introduced via the right femoral vein and positioned under fluoroscopic control. Imaging and Doppler studies were performed to delineate cardiovascular anatomy as well as ventricular function response to positive (dobutamine) and negative inotropic (esmolol) agents. The procedure was safe and feasible in all cases. Clear and novel two-dimensional and flow information were obtained from the iliac arteries, descending aorta, both renal artery origins, ascending aorta, including the aortic arch, main pulmonary artery and its bifurcation, as well as head and neck vessels. Novel intracardiac views were obtained, including right ventricular long axis, left ventricular apex and ‘flask’ views of the left ventricle. Excellent dynamic information for left ventricular function was also available [e.g. myocardial Vmax of the anterior left ventricular wall was 6.8±2.5 cm/s at rest, 14.6±5.5 cm/s after dobutamine (P = 0.009) and 4.5±1 cm/s after esmolol (P = 0.03 compared with control)]. We conclude that, in adult primates, transvenous ultrasound safely and reliably provides novel information of cardiovascular structure and function.

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