Three-dimensional color Doppler reconstruction of intracardiac blood flow in patients with different heart valve diseases


      An improved perception of the magnitude and dynamics of intracardiac flow disturbances has been made possible by the advent of 3-dimensional (3-D) color Doppler, a new diagnostic procedure developed at our institution. This study describes the new insights derived from 3-D reconstruction of color Doppler flow patterns in patients with different heart valve diseases. The color Doppler flow data from 153 multiplanar transesophageal or transthoracic echocardiographic examinations has been obtained from 133 patients with heart valve disease; 73 patients had mitral regurgitation, 15 had mitral stenosis, 18 had aortic regurgitation, 26 had aortic stenosis, and 21 patients had tricuspid regurgitation. Four patients had pulmonary regurgitation associated with mitral valve disease. The 3-D reconstructions of color Doppler flow signals were accomplished by means of the “Heidelberg Raytracing model,” developed at our institution. The 3-D color Doppler reconstructions were obtained in all patients. The 3-D images revealed for the first time the complex spatial distribution of the blood flow abnormalities in the heart chambers caused by different heart valve diseases. New patterns of intracardiac blood flow disturbances were observed and classified. Three-dimensional color Doppler provides a unique noninvasive method that can be easily applied for studying intracardiac blood flow disturbances in clinical practice.
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