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Open access

Ellen Ostenfeld and Frank A Flachskampf

Right ventricular volumes and ejection fraction are challenging to assess by echocardiography, but are well established as functional and prognostic parameters. Three-dimensional (3D) echocardiography has become widespread and relatively easy to use, making calculation of these parameters feasible in the large majority of patients. We review past attempts to estimate right ventricular volumes, current strengths and weaknesses of 3D echocardiography for this task, and compare with corresponding data from magnetic resonance imaging.

Open access

Ramasamy Manivarmane, Rebecca Taylor and Rajdeep Khattar

Our case highlights the finding of an abnormal pulmonary valve on 2D echocardiography, confirmed to be of bicuspid morphology with 3D imaging. The use of biplane imaging both in transthoracic and transoesophageal echocardiography and routine use of three-dimensional views particularly in transoesophageal echocardiography are of incremental value in better delineating pulmonary valve anatomy.

Learning points:

  • Bicuspid pulmonary valve as an isolated clinical entity is a rare finding in clinical practice with an incidence of about 0.1%.

  • The true prevalence of the condition may be underestimated because of difficulty in visualising the pulmonary valve en-face on standard two-dimensional echocardiography.

  • Trans-oesophageal echocardiography may provide better visualization of the pulmonary valve when transthoracic images are affected by interference from the left lung.

  • Routine use of 3D echocardiography with biplane and zoomed views should be advocated for a full morphological assessment of the pulmonary valve, whether imaging via the transthoracic or transoesophageal approach.

Open access

Azad Mashari, Mario Montealegre-Gallegos, Ziyad Knio, Lu Yeh, Jelliffe Jeganathan, Robina Matyal, Kamal R Khabbaz and Feroze Mahmood

Three-dimensional (3D) printing is a rapidly evolving technology with several potential applications in the diagnosis and management of cardiac disease. Recently, 3D printing (i.e. rapid prototyping) derived from 3D transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) has become possible. Due to the multiple steps involved and the specific equipment required for each step, it might be difficult to start implementing echocardiography-derived 3D printing in a clinical setting. In this review, we provide an overview of this process, including its logistics and organization of tools and materials, 3D TEE image acquisition strategies, data export, format conversion, segmentation, and printing. Generation of patient-specific models of cardiac anatomy from echocardiographic data is a feasible, practical application of 3D printing technology.

Open access

Xiu-Xia Luo, Fang Fang, Hung-Kwan So, Chao Liu, Man-Ching Yam and Alex Pui-Wai Lee

Background

Several studies have reported the accuracy and reproducibility of HeartModel for automated determination of three-dimensional echocardiography (3DE)-derived left heart volumes and left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction (LVEF) in adult patients. However, it remains unclear whether this automated adaptive analytics algorithm, derived from a ‘training’ population, can encompass adequate echo images in Chinese adolescents.

Objectives

The aim of our study was to explore the accuracy of HeartModel in adolescents compared with expert manual three-dimensional (3D) echocardiography.

Methods

Fifty-three Chinese adolescent subjects with or without heart disease underwent 3D echocardiographic imaging with an EPIQ system (Philips). 3D cardiac volumes and LVEF obtained with the automated HeartModel program were compared with manual 3D echocardiographic measurements by an experienced echocardiographer.

Results

There was strong correlation between HeartModel and expert manual 3DE measurements (r = 0.875–0.965, all P < 0.001). Automated LV and left atrial (LA) volumes were slightly overestimated when compared to expert manual measurements, while LVEF showed no significant differences from the manual method. Importantly, the intra- and inter-observer variability of automated 3D echocardiographic model was relatively low (<1%), surpassing the manual approach (3.5–17.4%), yet requiring significantly less analyzing time (20 ± 7 vs 177 ± 30 s, P < 0.001).

Conclusion

Simultaneous quantification of left heart volumes and LVEF with the automated HeartModel program is rapid, accurate and reproducible in Chinese adolescent cohort. Therefore, it has a potential to bring 3D echocardiographic assessment of left heart chamber volumes and function into busy pediatric practice.

Open access

Anne Ringle, Anne Dornhorst, Michaela B Rehman, Cristina Ruisanchez and Petros Nihoyannopoulos

Background

We sought to assess the long-term evolution of left ventricular (LV) function using two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) speckle tracking echocardiography (STE) for the detection of preclinical diabetic cardiomyopathy, in asymptomatic type 1 diabetic patients, over a 6-year follow-up.

Design and methods

Sixty-six asymptomatic type 1 diabetic patients with no cardiovascular risk factors were compared to 26 matched healthy controls. Conventional, 2D and 3D-STE were performed at baseline. A subgroup of 14 patients underwent a 6-year follow-up evaluation.

Results

At baseline, diabetic patients had similar LV ejection fraction (60 vs 61%; P = NS), but impaired longitudinal function, as assessed by 2D-global longitudinal strain (GLS) (−18.9 ± 2 vs −20.5 ± 2; P = 0.0002) and 3D-GLS (−17.5 ± 2 vs −19 ± 2; P = 0.003). At follow-up, diabetic patients had worsened longitudinal function compared to baseline (2D-GLS: −18.4 ± 1 vs −19.2 ± 1; P = 0.03). Global circumferential (GCS) and radial (GRS) strains were unchanged at baseline and during follow-up. Metabolic status did not correlate with GLS, whereas GCS and GRS showed a good correlation, suggestive of a compensatory increase of circumferential and radial functions in advanced stages of the disease – long-term diabetes (GCS: −26 ± 3 vs −23.3 ± 3; P = 0.008) and in the presence of microvascular complications (GRS: 38.8 ± 9 vs 34.3 ± 8; P = 0.04).

Conclusions

Subclinical myocardial dysfunction can be detected by 2D and 3D-STE in type 1 diabetic patients, independently of any other cardiovascular risk factors. Diabetic cardiomyopathy progression was suggested by a mild decrease in longitudinal function at the follow-up, but did not extend to a clinical expression of the disease, as no death or over heart failure was reported.

Open access

Peter W Wood, Patrick H Gibson and Harald Becher

Several methods of analysis are available for quantification of left ventricular volumes and ejection fraction using three-dimensional (3D) echocardiography. This study compared the accuracy and reproducibility of five methods of analysis in a novel, irregularly shaped dynamic heart phantom with excellent image quality. Five 3D datasets were acquired on a Philips IE33 platform using an X5-1 3D transducer. Each dataset was analysed by five different methods using the Philips QLab v8.1 software: Methods A1, A2 and A3, semi-automated contour detection with varying degrees of user correction; Method B, Simpson's biplane method using optimally aligned four- and two-chamber views and Method C, method of discs, manually delineated in reconstructed short-axis views. Time–volume curves were generated for each method and compared with the true volumes measured throughout systole in the phantom heart. A second observer repeated measurements by each method in a single 3D dataset. Method A1 (uncorrected semi-automated contouring) produced the most consistent time–volume curves, although end-diastolic and end-systolic volumes varied between datasets. Any manual correction of contours (Methods A2, A3 and B) resulted in significant variation in the time–volume curves, with less consistent endocardial tracking. Method C was not only the most accurate and reproducible method, but also the most time-consuming one. Different methods of 3D volume quantification vary significantly in accuracy and reproducibility using an irregular phantom heart model. Although contouring may appear optimal in long-axis views, this may not be replicated circumferentially, and the resulting measures appeared to be less robust following the manual correction of semi-automated contours.

Open access

Stephan Stoebe, Michael Metze, Daniel Jurisch, Bhupendar Tayal, Kilian Solty, Ulrich Laufs, Dietrich Pfeiffer and Andreas Hagendorff

Purpose

The study compares the feasibility of the quantitative volumetric and semi-quantitative approach for quantification of chronic aortic regurgitation (AR) using different imaging modalities.

Methods

Left ventricular (LV) volumes, regurgitant volumes (RVol) and regurgitant fractions (RF) were assessed retrospectively by 2D, 3D echocardiography and cMRI in 55 chronic AR patients. Semi-quantitative parameters were assessed by 2D echocardiography.

Results

22 (40%) patients had mild, 25 (46%) moderate and 8 (14%) severe AR. The quantitative volumetric approach was feasible using 2D, 3D echocardiography and cMRI, whereas the feasibility of semi-quantitative parameters varied considerably. LV volume (LVEDV, LVESV, SVtot) analyses showed good correlations between the different imaging modalities, although significantly increased LV volumes were assessed by cMRI. RVol was significantly different between 2D/3D echocardiography and 2D echocardiography/cMRI but was not significantly different between 3D echocardiography/cMRI. RF was not statistically different between 2D echocardiography/cMRI and 3D echocardiography/cMRI showing poor correlations (r < 0.5) between the different imaging modalities. For AR grading by RF, moderate agreement was observed between 2D/3D echocardiography and 2D echocardiography/cMRI and good agreement was observed between 3D echocardiography/cMRI.

Conclusion

Semi-quantitative parameters are difficult to determine by 2D echocardiography in clinical routine. The quantitative volumetric RF assessment seems to be feasible and can be discussed as an alternative approach in chronic AR. However, RVol and RF did not correlate well between the different imaging modalities. The best agreement for grading of AR severity by RF was observed between 3D echocardiography and cMRI. LV volumes can be verified by different approaches and different imaging modalities.

Open access

Stephan Stoebe, Dietrich Pfeiffer and Andreas Hagendorff

The aim of this study was to test the feasibility of the visualisation of 3D4D coronary flow in detectable segments of coronary arteries. Regarding the feasibility of this new approach, the hypothesis was proposed that the flow signals of the course of detectable coronary arteries can be better visualised by 3D4D echocardiography than by the conventional 2D approach. A total of 30 consecutive patients with sinus rhythm, in whom the distal left anterior descending artery (LAD) was visualised by 2D colour-coded Doppler echocardiography, were selected for 3D4D scanning procedures. All measurements were performed using a Vivid 7 or E9. All segments visualised by 2D colour-coded Doppler echocardiography were also examined by 3D4D echocardiography. Using defined settings, the width of the colour-coded flow signal differs significantly between 2D- and 3D4D echocardiography. The length of larger segments of the visualised colour-coded flow signal of the coronary flow could be better detected with 2D imaging. Small segments of coronary artery flow (<11 mm), however, could be significantly better visualised by 3D4D echocardiography. The main advantage of 3D4D echocardiography of the coronary artery flow is the visualisation of the proportions of vessels with complex morphology. 3D4D echocardiography of LAD flow by colour-coded Doppler echocardiography raises new possibilities for the direct flow visualisation of the detectable segments of coronaries. With its sufficiently high spatial and temporal resolution, this new method has the potential to be implemented in clinical scenarios. The possible application to the quantification of stenoses by the flow visualisation has to be evaluated in further studies.

Open access

Stephan Stoebe, Katharina Lange, Dietrich Pfeiffer and Andreas Hagendorff

The present study was carried out to test the feasibility of proximal right coronary artery (RCA) imaging and to detect proximal RCA narrowing and occlusion by 2D and 3D transthoracic echocardiography in comparison to coronary angiography (CA). Standardised 2D and 3D echocardiography were performed prior to CA in 97 patients with sinus rhythm. The following parameters were determined: the longest longitudinal detectable RCA segment, the minimum and maximum width of the RCA, the area and number of detectable narrowing >50% of the proximal RCA and the correlation between the echocardiographic and angiographic findings. The visualisation of the proximal RCA and the detection of coronary artery narrowing in the proximal RCA are generally possible. Differences in width and area were not statistically significant between 2D and 3D echocardiography, but showed significant differences between echocardiography and CA. For the detection of proximal RCA narrowing, higher sensitivity and specificity values were obtained by 2D than by 3D echocardiography. However, in patients with sufficient image quality 3D echocardiography permits a more detailed visualisation of the anatomical proportions and an en-face view into the RCA ostium. The visualisation of the proximal RCA is feasible and narrowing can be detected by 2D and 3D echocardiography if image quality is sufficient. CA is the gold standard for the detection of coronary artery stenoses. However, the potential of this new approach is clinically important because crucial findings of the proximal RCA can be presumably detected non-invasively prior to CA.

Open access

Tudor Trache, Stephan Stöbe, Adrienn Tarr, Dietrich Pfeiffer and Andreas Hagendorff

Comparison of 3D and 2D speckle tracking performed on standard 2D and triplane 2D datasets of normal and pathological left ventricular (LV) wall-motion patterns with a focus on the effect that 3D volume rate (3DVR), image quality and tracking artifacts have on the agreement between 2D and 3D speckle tracking. 37 patients with normal LV function and 18 patients with ischaemic wall-motion abnormalities underwent 2D and 3D echocardiography, followed by offline speckle tracking measurements. The values of 3D global, regional and segmental strain were compared with the standard 2D and triplane 2D strain values. Correlation analysis with the LV ejection fraction (LVEF) was also performed. The 3D and 2D global strain values correlated good in both normally and abnormally contracting hearts, though systematic differences between the two methods were observed. Of the 3D strain parameters, the area strain showed the best correlation with the LVEF. The numerical agreement of 3D and 2D analyses varied significantly with the volume rate and image quality of the 3D datasets. The highest correlation between 2D and 3D peak systolic strain values was found between 3D area and standard 2D longitudinal strain. Regional wall-motion abnormalities were similarly detected by 2D and 3D speckle tracking. 2DST of triplane datasets showed similar results to those of conventional 2D datasets. 2D and 3D speckle tracking similarly detect normal and pathological wall-motion patterns. Limited image quality has a significant impact on the agreement between 3D and 2D numerical strain values.