Dynamic three-dimensional echocardiographic imaging of congenital heart defects in infants and children by computer-controlled tomographic parallel slicing using a single integrated ultrasound instrument

Echocardiography. 1994 Mar;11(2):155-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8175.1994.tb01061.x.


Three-dimensional cardiac reconstruction generated from transesophageal interrogation can be performed using an integrated unit that captures, processes, and postprocesses tomographic parallel slices of the heart. This probe was used for infants and young children in the transthoracic position to evaluate the feasibility of producing three-dimensional cardiac images with capability for real-time dynamic display. Twenty-two infants and children (range 1 day-3.5 years) underwent image acquisition using a 16 mm 5 MHz 64 element probe placed over the precordium. Two infants were also imaged from the subcostal position. Data was obtained and stored over a single cardiac cycle after acceptable cardiac and respiratory gating intervals were met. The transducer was advanced in 0.5-1 mm increments over the cardiac structures using identical acquisition criteria. The images were reconstructed from the stored digital cubic format and could be oriented in any desired plane. In 9 of the 22 infants the images obtained were of optimal quality. The images obtained displayed normal cardiac structures emphasizing depth relationships as well as visualization of planes not generally demonstrated by two-dimensional imaging. Several lesions were also depicted in a unique fashion using this technique. Though the method employed was limited by movement artifact and reconstruction time, the quality of the three-dimensional display was excellent and enhanced by real-time demonstration. The transthoracic approach was successful in capturing sufficient data to create three-dimensional images, which may have further application in more accurate diagnosis of complex cardiac abnormalities and generation of planes of view which could duplicate surgical visualization of a lesion. Further assessment of the technique in infants with congenital heart disease is warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Echocardiography / instrumentation*
  • Echocardiography / methods
  • Echocardiography / trends
  • Equipment Design
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Forecasting
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Tomography / instrumentation