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New three-dimensional echocardiographic system using digital radiofrequency data - visualization and quantitative analysis of aortic valve dynamics with high resolution

Methods, feasibility and initial clinical experience
: Handke, M.; Jahnke, C.; Heinrichs, G.; Schlegel, J.C.; Vos, C.; Schmitt, D.; Bode, C.; Geibel, A.


Circulation 107 (2003), No.23, pp.2876-2879
ISSN: 0009-7322
ISSN: 0069-4193
ISSN: 0065-8499
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IBMT ()

Background-Common 3D systems have only limited spatial and temporal resolution (frame rate of 25 Hz). Thin structures such as cardiac valves are not imaged exactly; rapid movement patterns cannot be precisely recorded. The objective of the present project was to achieve radiofrequency (RF) data transmission to the 3D workstation to improve image resolution. Methods and Results-A commercially available echocardiographic system (5-MHz transesophageal echocardiography probe) with an integrated raw data interface enables transmission of RF data (up to 40 megabytes per second). A 3D data set may contain up to 3 gigabytes, so that all of the high-resolution ultrasound information of the 2D image is available. Frame rates of up to 168 Hz result in temporal resolution 6 times that of standard 3D systems. The applicability of the system and the image quality were tested in 10 patients. The structure of the aortic valve and the dynamic changes were depicted by volume rendering. The changes in the orifice areas were measured in frame-by-frame planimetry. The mean number of frames recorded per cardiac cycle was 122 +/- 16. The improved structural resolution enabled a detailed imaging of the morphology of the aortic cusps. The rapid systolic movement patterns were recorded with up to 51 frames. The high number of frames enabled creation of precise area-time diagrams. Thus, the individual phases of aortic valve movement (rapid opening, slow valve closing, and rapid valve closing) could be analyzed quantitatively. Conclusion-A 3D system based on RF data enables high-resolution imaging of cardiac movement patterns. This offers new perspectives for qualitative and quantitative analyses, especially of cardiac valves.