Doppler color flow mapping of the proximal isovelocity surface area: a new method for measuring volume flow rate across a narrowed orifice

J Am Soc Echocardiogr. Jul-Aug 1991;4(4):338-48. doi: 10.1016/s0894-7317(14)80444-6.


This manuscript describes a new method, validated in in vitro models, for quantitating volume flow rate across an orifice with Doppler color flow mapping. Flow through a narrowed orifice is characterized by the convergence of radial streamlines proximal to the orifice. In this color Doppler method, one or more isovelocity surface areas (PISA), delineated by blue and red aliasing velocity interfaces, can be identified proximal to the narrowed orifice. Volume flow rate (in milliliters per second) can then be calculated as PISA (in square centimeters) multiplied by the isovelocity of the PISA (in centimeters per second). Doppler color flow mapping was performed in in vitro models of constant and pulsatile flow through an orifice in a wall. The first proximal isovelocity surface area, with an isovelocity corresponding to the aliasing velocity, that is, one half the Nyquist sampling limit, could be identified as a blue and red color interface proximal to the orifice. Over a range of circular orifice diameters from 3 mm to 16 mm and flow rates from 0.5 to 18.7 L/min, the proximal isovelocity surface area could be imaged in two planes. This PISA was best described by a hemielliptic mathematical model with two different radii measured from long-axis and short-axis views. In the constant flow model, volume flow rate calculated from the Doppler PISA correlated well with actual volume flow rate measured simultaneously with a cylinder and stopwatch (r = 0.98, p less than 0.001, standard error of the estimate [SEE] = 0.36 L/min). In the pulsatile flow model, with jet velocities ranging from 2.6 to 7.7 m/sec and flow volume ranging from 1.0 to 10.3 L/min, calculated volume flow rate also demonstrated an excellent correlation with actual volume flow rate (r = 0.99, p less than 0.001, SEE = 0.53 L/min). Findings from these in vitro models suggest that quantification of the proximal isovelocity surface area by Doppler color flow mapping appears to be a promising technique for estimating volume flow rate across a narrowed orifice. This new color Doppler flow method may have advantages over previous Doppler methods in estimating volume flow rate in various clinical situations, for example, valvular regurgitation and shunt lesions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Echocardiography, Doppler / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Cardiovascular*
  • Models, Structural
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Pulsatile Flow
  • Reproducibility of Results