Tissue harmonic imaging: why does it work?

J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 1998 Aug;11(8):803-8. doi: 10.1016/s0894-7317(98)70055-0.


The recent utilization of harmonic frequencies in the imaging of both tissue and contrast agents has dramatically improved echocardiographic image quality. In contrast harmonics, the harmonic frequency energy is generated on reflection from the microbubble contrast agent. In tissue harmonics, the harmonic frequency energy is generated gradually as the ultrasonic wave propagates through the tissue. Critical to the utility of tissue-generated harmonic frequencies is their origin beyond the chest wall and their nonlinear relation to the fundamental frequency energy strength. These two characteristics of tissue-generated harmonics ensure that the echoes most likely to produce artifact are least likely to produce harmonic waves. Armed with an understanding of how these images are produced and with data emerging as to their clinical utility, we anticipate that harmonic imaging will become the standard for assessing regional and global left ventricular function in technically difficult studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts
  • Contrast Media
  • Echocardiography* / methods
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Ventricular Function, Left


  • Contrast Media