Background: Multi-gated acquisition (equilibrium-gated radionuclide ventriculography) (MUGA) is considered the gold standard for measuring left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) because it is accurate, machine interpreted, and reproducible. Echocardiographic LVEF measurements are subject to variability in image acquisition and interpretation and to the limitations of 2-dimensional (2D) versus 3-dimensional imaging.
Goal: The shortcomings of traditional echocardiography may be addressed by combining multiplane 2D harmonic imaging, echocardiographic contrast, color Doppler ultrasonography, and digital image processing to create a new imaging modality: contrast harmonic color Doppler left ventriculography.
Methods: We compared the accuracy of a new method for measuring LVEF that allows for machine interpretation and uses contrast-enhanced intermittent harmonic color Doppler ultrasonography (CHCD). Quantitative LVEF measurements by hand-traced harmonic 2D echocardiography, contrast-enhanced harmonic 2D echocardiography, CHCD, and machine-interpreted CHCD were compared with MUGA in 35 patients.
Results: Contrast-enhanced intermittent harmonic color Doppler provided images with vivid endocardial definition in all patients, but hand-traced harmonic 2D echocardiography and contrast-enhanced harmonic 2D echocardiography had inadequate images in 9% of patients. The MUGA LVEF range was 0. 09 to 0.70. All echocardiographic methods showed excellent correlation with the MUGA LVEF (R (2) > 0.96), but the CHCD method had the best limits of agreement.
Conclusions: Contrast-enhanced intermittent harmonic color Doppler LVEF correlates with MUGA at least as well as traditional noncontrasted echocardiography, but it provides diagnostic images in a greater proportion of patients. The CHCD images have vivid endocardial delineation and can be machine interpreted.