Range gated two-dimensional Doppler echocardiographic methods were evaluated for quantifying pulmonary (QP) to systemic (QS) blood flow ratios. Twenty-one patients were studied, 4 with patent ductus arteriosus, 6 with atrial septal defect and 11 with ventricular septal defect. The Doppler pulmonary to systemic flow (QP:QS) estimation method involved calculating volume flow (liters/min) at a variety of intracardiac sites by using imaging information for flow area and Doppler outputs to calculate mean flow velocity as a function of time. Area volume flows were combined to yield QP:QS ratios. The sites sampled were main pulmonary artery, ascending aorta, mitral valve orifice and subpulmonary right ventricular outflow tract. The overall correlation between Doppler QP:QS estimates and those obtained at cardiac catheterization (n = 18) or radionuclide angiography (n = 3) was r = 0.85 (standard error of the estimate = 0.48:1). These preliminary results suggest that clinical application of this Doppler echocardiogram method should allow noninvasive estimation of the magnitude of cardiac shunts.
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