Agitated Saline Contrast Study (Bubble Study)
An agitated saline contrast study (“Bubble study”) is recommended for some patients’ who had a stroke and there is a concern for a patent foramen ovale (PFO) which is a small “hole” between the top two chambers of the heart, for routine follow up after closure of these and less commonly for patients with possible shunts within the lungs. Before doing the bubble study, a full standard transthoracic echocardiogram is performed. An intravenous cannula is then placed in an arm vein by the nurse or cardiologist. The cardiologist will explain the test to you further before proceeding. This is a very safe and painless test. The cardiologist will inject 10mls of normal saline (“water”) mixed with tiny bubbles into the vein. A second injection is then performed and you will be asked to perform a Valsalva manoeuvre which involves blowing out while your lips are closed - you will be shown how to do this. After completion of the test, the intravenous cannula is removed and the study is completed. There is no need to fast before the test and you can eat and/or drink as you wish.