The purpose of this study was to investigate whether cardiac output (CO) could be accurately computed from live three-dimensional (3-D) Doppler echocardiographic data in an acute open-chested animal preparation. The accurate measurement of CO is important in both patient management and research. Current methods use invasive pulmonary artery catheters or two-dimensional (2-D) echocardiography or esophageal aortic Doppler measures, with the inherent risks and inaccuracies of these techniques. Seventeen juvenile, open-chested pigs were studied before undergoing a separate cardiopulmonary bypass procedure. Live 3-D Doppler echocardiography images of the left ventricular outflow tract and aortic valve were obtained by epicardial scanning, using a Philips Medical Systems (Andover, Massachusetts) Sonos 7500 Live 3-D Echo system with a 2.5-MHz probe. Simultaneous CO measurements were obtained from an ultrasonic flow probe placed around the aortic root. Subsequent offline processing using custom software computed the CO from the digital 3-D Doppler DICOM data, and this was compared to the gold standard of the aortic flow probe measurements. One hundred forty-three individual CO measurements were taken from 16 pigs, one being excluded because of severe aortic regurgitation. There was good correlation between the 3-D Doppler and flow probe methods of CO measurement (y = 1.1x - 9.82, R 2 = 0.93). In this acute animal preparation, live 3-D Doppler echocardiographic data allowed for accurate assessment of CO as compared to the ultrasonic flow probe measurement.
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