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Claims for Patent: 5,573,751

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Claims for Patent: 5,573,751

Title: Persistent gaseous bubbles as ultrasound contrast media
Abstract:Disclosed herein are agents for enhancing the contrast in an ultrasound image. These agents are extremely small bubbles, or "microbubbles," comprised of specially selected gases. The microbubbles described herein exhibit long life spans in solution and may be produced at a size small enough to traverse the lungs, thus enabling improved ultrasound imaging of the cardiovascular system and other vital organs. Also disclosed herein is a method for selecting gases from which contrast agents may be produced. The method is based on calculations using inherent physical properties of gases and describes a means to associate the properties of a gas with the time for dissolution of a microbubble comprised of the gas.
Inventor(s): Quay; Steven C. (Los Angeles, CA)
Assignee: Sonus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Bothell, WA)
Application Number:08/361,118
Patent Claims: 1. Contrast media for ultrasound imaging comprising gaseous microbubbles selected from the group consisting of hexafluoropropylene, octafluoropropane, octafluoro-2-butene, hexafluoro-2-butyne, hexafluorobuta-1,3-diene, octafluorocyclobutane and decafluorobutane.

2. Contrast media of claim 1 comprising octafluoropropane.

3. Contrast media of claim 1 comprising decafluorobutane.

4. A biocompatible ultrasound contrast agent comprising perfluoropropane.

5. The contrast agent of claim 4 wherein a portion of said perfluoropropane is present as gaseous microbubbles suspended in a carrier.

6. The contrast agent of claim 5 wherein said carrier is an aqueous liquid.

7. The contrast agent of claim 4 wherein a portion of said microbubbles are less than 8 microns in diameter.

8. A biocompatible ultrasound contrast agent comprising perfluorobutane.

9. The contrast agent of claim 8 wherein a portion of said perfluorobutane is present as gaseous microbubbles suspended in a carrier.

10. The contrast agent of claim 9 wherein said carrier is an aqueous liquid.

11. The contrast agent of claim 8 wherein a portion of said microbubbles are less than 8 microns in diameter.

12. A biocompatible ultrasound contrast agent containing gas-filled liposomes, the improvement comprising including microbubbles of at least one gaseous fluorine-containing chemical in said liposomes.

13. The contrast agent of claim 12 wherein the fluorine-containing chemical is selected from the group consisting of perfluoroethane, perfluoropropane, perfluorobutane, sulfur hexafluoride and mixtures thereof.

14. The contrast agent of claim 12 wherein said liposomes are less than eight microns in diameter.

15. A biocompatible ultrasound contrast agent containing a suspension of encapsulated air-filled microspheres, the improvement comprising replacing all or a portion of the air with at least one gaseous fluorine-containing chemical.

16. The contrast agent of claim 15 wherein said microspheres are 2-4 microns in size.

17. The contrast agent of claim 15 wherein the fluorine-containing chemical is selected from the group consisting of perfluoroethane, perfluoropropane, perfluorobutane, sulfur hexafluoride and mixtures thereof.

18. The contrast agent of claim 15 wherein the microspheres are formed from denatured proteins.

19. A biocompatible ultrasound contrast agent containing a suspension of crystals in a saccharide diluent, the improvement comprising providing microbubbles of a perfluoroethane, perfluoropropane, perfluorobutane and sulfur hexafluoride.

20. The contrast agent of claim 19 wherein said crystals range in size from 5 to 10 microns.

21. A biocompatible ultrasound contrast agent containing an emulsion of highly fluorinated organic compounds, the improvement comprising providing microbubbles of at least one gaseous fluorine containing chemical in said emulsion.

22. A biocompatible ultrasound contrast agent containing an air-filled microbubble suspension, the improvement comprising providing perfluoroethane, perfluorobutane, perfluoropropane or sulfur hexafluoride gas within the microbubbles of said suspension.
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