What is the bubble study?

Bubble Study | CVAM Sometimes, when patients are undergoing diagnostic testing such as an echocardiogram, they may be told by their doctor that they may also perform a “bubble study” at the same time. At CVAM (Cardiovascular Associates of Mesa) Cardiology in Arizona, we may make this recommendation from time to time to help in diagnosing certain conditions.

What is a bubble study?

During an echocardiogram, one of our technicians will utilize a special ultrasound probe that essentially causes high-frequency sound waves to “echo” back from the heart structures. This provides video images that allow them to see the heart’s function and appearance. By incorporating a bubble study, the technician can also identify any concerns regarding the flow of blood to the heart.

During a bubble study, patients will have an IV line placed in the vein of their arm. A saline solution mixed with air to create bubbles is then administered to the patient, where the fluid can then be seen passing through the heart and circulating through the veins. In most situations, the lungs will filter the bubbles from the saline mix. However, if there are any opening in the heart’s right or left atria, some bubbles may move through the hole and present the area of concern to the technician. This opening is referred to as the PFO, or patent foramen ovale, and may be present from birth if the area failed to close during normal development in the womb.

Many patients who have PFO live their lives without any concerns. However, there continues to be evidence showing that certain strokes and blood clots can occur in patients with these openings. This is why it is important to diagnose and monitor the patient’s condition to provide appropriate treatment recommendations if any.

Ready to work with a team of cardiologists with years of combined experience?

Contact CVAM Cardiology today by calling (480) 641-5400 and visiting us at one of our four locations in Arizona. Our cardiologists are here to assist with a wide range of diagnostic and treatment solutions for the heart and want to help patients in the community stay active and healthy regardless of their conditions.