Impaired coronary flow reserve is widely reported in diabetes mellitus (DM) but its effect on myocardial contrast echocardiography (MCE) is unclear. We sought to identify whether DM influences the accuracy of qualitative and quantitative assessment of coronary artery disease (CAD) using MCE in 83 patients who underwent coronary angiography (60 men, 27 with DM; 56 +/- 11 years;). Destruction replenishment imaging was performed at rest and after combined dipyridamole-exercise stress testing. Ischemia was identified by the development of new wall motion abnormalities, qualitative MCE (new perfusion defects apparent 1 second after flash during hyperemia), and quantitative MCE (myocardial blood flow reserve <2.0 in the anterior circulation). Qualitative and quantitative assessment of perfusion was feasible in 100% and 92% of patients, respectively. Significant left anterior descending coronary stenosis (>50% by quantitative angiography) was present in 28 patients (including 8 with DM); 55 patients had no CAD (including 19 with DM). The myocardial blood flow reserve was reduced in patients with coronary stenosis compared with those with no CAD (1.6 +/- 1.1 vs 3.8 +/- 2.5, p <0.001). Among patients with no CAD, those with DM had an impaired flow reserve compared with control patients without DM (2.4 +/- 1.0 vs 4.5 +/- 2.8, p = 0.003). In conclusion, DM significantly influenced the quantitative, but not the qualitative, assessment of MCE, with a marked reduction in specificity in patients with DM.