Background: Three-dimensional echocardiography is a non-invasive imaging technique. The fact that it permits volumetric analyses independently of geometrical assumptions makes it a putatively useful method for the precise measurement of the volumes of the irregularly shaped right ventricles in children. The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of this method and its agreement with angiocardiography based estimates of right ventricular volume in children with congenital heart disease.
Methods: We studied 102 children with congenital heart disease. The angiocardiographic right ventricular volumetry was performed using a biplanar technique using Simpson's rule and corrected with Lange's correction factors. The echo data sets were registered trans-thoracically with a rotating transmitter. Volumes were calculated after manual planimetry by adding the volumes of the individual slices.
Results: Calculation of right ventricular volume echocardiographically was possible only in 34% of patients, mostly infants and toddlers. In comparison to angiocardiography, the measured volumes were 1.1 +/- 6.9 ml (19.5 +/- 34.1%) or 6.3 +/- 9.4 ml (42.5 +/- 33.6%) smaller during systole or diastole, respectively. The limits of agreement were -12.5 and 13.6 ml, or 12.45 and 25.15 ml during systole or diastole, respectively. When plotted to a logarithmical scale, the correlation coefficients r2 were 0.70 for systolic and 0.79 for diastolic measurements.
Conclusion: Transthoracic 3-dimensional echocardiography with a rotating transmitter is feasible for volumetry only in small children. The volumes measured were significantly smaller than the ones calculated from the angiocardiographic images. The correlation between the two methods is moderate.