Over the past 3 decades, echocardiography has become a major diagnostic tool in the arsenal of clinical cardiology for real-time imaging of cardiac dynamics. More and more, cardiologists' decisions are based on images created from ultrasound wave reflections. From the time ultrasound imaging technology provided the first insight into the human heart, our diagnostic capabilities have increased exponentially as a result of our growing knowledge and developing technology. One of the most significant developments of the last decades was the introduction of 3-dimensional (3D) imaging and its evolution from slow and labor-intense off-line reconstruction to real-time volumetric imaging. While continuing its meteoric rise instigated by constant technological refinements and continuing increase in computing power, this tool is guaranteed to be integrated in routine clinical practice. The major proven advantage of this technique is the improvement in the accuracy of the echocardiographic evaluation of cardiac chamber volumes, which is achieved by eliminating the need for geometric modeling and the errors caused by foreshortened views. Another benefit of 3D imaging is the realistic and unique comprehensive views of cardiac valves and congenital abnormalities. In addition, 3D imaging is extremely useful in the intraoperative and postoperative settings because it allows immediate feedback on the effectiveness of surgical interventions. In this article, we review the published reports that have provided the scientific basis for the clinical use of 3D ultrasound imaging of the heart and discuss its potential future applications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine