3D Echocardiography

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Author user:Dr. J van Dijk
Moderator I.A.C. van der Bilt
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Contents

Introduction

Three-dimensional echocardiography has become an easily applicable clinical technique over the years. What was a huge apparatus before has now become small and compact with a software that can analyze images and echocardiographic recordings easily. The technique is also easily learned and understood by every cardiologist and ultrasound technician. Three-dimensional echocardiography is also almost always the technique of choice because it rarely ahs any contraindications in when used in pregnant women, children, the elderly, and in patients with implanted pacemakers.

Engineering

The concept of 3D echocardiography is based on the transmission and reception of sound waves in mutually perpendicular planes. These waves form a pyramid-shaped ultrasound beam. With this technology, 3D echocardiography can be used to analyze and quantify anatomic abnormalities of the heart such as mitral valve and aortic abnormalities and even ventricular septal defects. There are also different softwares available to determine other cardiac anatomic dimensions.

Other Applications

Mechanical dyssynchrony

Another application of the 3D echocardiography is the analysis and quantification of mechanical dissynchrony or the inequality of the contraction of the left ventricle. This is often seen in patients with end-stage heart failure and who may be candidates for cardiac resynchronization therapy through the use of a biventricular pacemaker. The 3D echocardiography can also be used for the quantification of the cardiac wall motion during a dobutamine stress test.

Disadvatages

But 3D echocardiography also has several disadvantages to the way it is currently used. This technique can really be only used in patients with stable sinus rhythm since there are four beats that are need for recording. The image quality is also not always satisfactory in patients with heart failure. Sometimes, learning how to use the software take a long time. Currently, however, these disadvantages are overshadowed by the huge amount of information the 3D echocardiography provides to cardiologists in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.