Bubble Study is a specialized echocardiogram that seeks holes between the right and left sides of the heart by injecting bubbles into the bloodstream and watching to see if they cross from one side of the heart to other.
An ultrasound of the heart is termed an “echocardiogram”. It is carried out to obtain pictures of the heart and the areas around the heart. Better pictures are at times seen if a material called “contrast” is employed during the ultrasound. One kind of contrast is saline (sterile salt water). When saline is employed it is called a “bubble study”.
During a bubble study the doctor or nurse shakes the saline water until it forms small bubbles. The bubbles are then infused into the vein through an intravenous line. A bubble study allows us pursue the path that the bubbles take through the bloodstream. In a normal heart the bubbles are filtered by the lungs and are seen only on the right side of the heart. In case the bubbles are seen in the left side, it shows that there is an opening between the two sides of the heart, which is not normal. The irregularity can be an atrial-septial defect or ventricular septal defect. The bubble study aids to spot those abnormalities and is safe. The bubble solution is easily absorbed in the bloodstream.