A new Doppler echocardiographically based method has been developed to quantify volume flow rate by surface integration of velocity vectors (SIVV). Electrocardiographic-gated color Doppler images acquired in two orthogonal planes were used to estimate volume flow rate through a bowl-shaped surface at a given time and distance from the probe. To provide in vitro validation, the method was tested in a hydraulic model representing a pulsatile flow system with a restrictive orifice. Accurate estimates of stroke volume (+/- 10%) were obtained in a window between 1.2 and 1.6 cm proximal to the orifice, just before the region of prestenotic acceleration. By use of the Bernoulli's equation, the estimated flows were used to generate pressure gradient waveforms across the orifice, which agreed well with the measured flows. To demonstrate in vivo applicability, the SIVV method was applied retrospectively to the determination of stroke volume and subaortic flow from the apical three-chamber and five-chamber views in two patients. Stroke volume estimates along the left ventricular outflow tract showed a characteristic similar to that in the in vitro study and agreed well with those obtained by the Fick oxygen method. The region where accurate measurements can be obtained is affected by instrumental factors including Nyquist velocity limit, wall motion filter cutoff, and color flow sector angle. The SIVV principle should be useful for quantitative assessment of the severity of valvular abnormalities and noninvasive measurement of pulsatile volume flows in general.