We examined the efficacy and side effects of a newly developed contrast agent for intravenous myocardial contrast echocardiography, QW3600 Injection (EchoGen; Sonus Pharmaceuticals, Bothell, Wash.). Doses of 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, and 0.8 ml/kg of this agent were administered intravenously to 8 open-chested dogs. The left ventricular (LV) myocardium was uniformly well opacified for the 0.5 and 0.8 ml/kg doses, for which the peak intensity was an average of 40 gray levels above the baseline intensity. The myocardial opacification persisted even after the contrast echo intensity in the LV cavity had decreased. After ligation of the coronary artery, the area at risk was clearly delineated by the same doses. The agent emulsion and dissolved bubbles were examined microscopically in vitro and in vivo to elucidate the mechanism of prolonged opacification. A microscopic investigation of the mesenteric vessels of a rat indicated that bubbles had formed, growing as large as 30 to 50 microm [corrected] in diameter. The hemodynamic parameters did not change at low doses (0.1 and 0.2 ml/kg), but the systemic pressure fell and the arterial blood oxygen saturation decreased at high doses (0.5 and 0.8 ml/kg). EchoGen provides prolonged contrast for myocardial contrast echocardiography via peripheral venous administration, although the hemodynamic parameters deteriorate at high doses.