Conventional two-dimensional echocardiography (2DE) calculates volumes relying on geometric assumptions about the sape of cardiac chambers (e.g area-length method to calculate left ventricular or atrial volume), measures areas by assuming an unverified perpendicular orientation of the 2D view to the axis of the orifice (e.g. mitral valve area planimetry), derives areas from measuring diameters and assuming a circular shape of orifices (e.g. calculation of left ventricular outflow area from the measurement of its anterior-posterior diameter). Conversely, three-dimensional echocardiography (3DE) allows: true measurement of chamber volumes (through a reconstruction of their endocardial surface and counting the voxels contained within the "beutel", thus eliminating the need for geometric assumptions about chamber shape), accurate planimetry of orifice areas (using cut planes which are oriented perpendicularly to the orifice axis and controlling the exact position of the cut plane --> en face view of orifices), and actual measurement of cardiac structure size and shape (through the possibility of cropping the 3D data set in any way to obtain an anatomical display of the desired structure).
2DE calculation of left ventricular volume is mainly based on two algorithms: the area-length and the dic-summation algorithms which can be used in a mono- or biplane approach..
The biplane disc-summation algorithm is based on the principle that the total left ventricular volume is calculated by summing a stack of elliptical discs. Each disc has a height which is calculated as a fraction (usually 1/20) of the longest left ventricular long axis obtained from the 4- and 2-chamber views (Figure 2)
On top of the listed limitations of the two methods, there is the need of manual tracing of the endocardial border that depends heavily on the experience of the operator.
When compared to 2DE, 3DE measurement of left ventricular volumes has been reported to be significantly more accurate with less underestimation of the volumes measured at cardiac magnetic resonance. There are several explanations for the reduced underestimation of volumes: 1. no foreshortening of left ventricular long axis; 2. inclusion of the left ventricular outflow tract within the measurement. In addition, semiautomatic or completely automatic border detection algorithm significantly improve the reproducibility and repeatibility of the measurements, even if several authors have underlined the role of experienced users and the need to check the accuracy of border detection.
Right ventricle2DE quantification of right ventricular (RV) size and function is challenging, due to the anterior position of the RV in the chest, its complex asymmetric geometry, irregularity of the highly trabeculated endocardial border, impossibility to visualize in the same view both inflow and outflow tracts and lack of realistic geometrical models. 3DE allows the reconstruction of the whole right ventricle with no need of making geometric assumptions about its geometry (Figure 4) .
Left atrium3DE has been reported as an accurate and reproducible method to measure left atrial volumes and function. By plotting the volume against time, the phasic functions of the filling and ejection of the atrium may be quantified (Figure 5).
Mitral valveThe normal mitral valve is oval and saddle-shaped, with its lowest points located at the commissures, and its highest points near the aortic root and near the posterior wall. Evidently, 2DE is unable to provide data about the size of mitral leaflets and the shape of mitral annulus, since mental reconstruction from separate 2D views cannot provide the same information as the volume-rendered 3D reconstruction. With 3DE, the elliptical shape of mitral valves is best appreciated from the surgical view of the valve, encompassing the whole annular circumference in one view. Performant tools to precisely quantitate the size of mitral leaflets, size, shape and degree of non-planarity of mitral annulus have been developed in order to better understand mitral valve mechanics and to assist the surgeon in evaluating the feasibility of mitral valve repair(Figure 6)
The mitral annulus annulus is a dynamic structure and it has been noted that it undergoes dynamic changes, with cyclic changes in area and longitudinal displacement toward the apex during systole. In healthy individuals, the mitral leaflets appear nearly flat with minimal tenting in mid-systole, and the mitral annular surface area reaches the largest value during the rapid LV filling phase.
- ↑ Lang R, Bierig M, Devereaux RB et al. Cardiac chamber quantification. Eur J Echocardiogr 2006;7:79-108
- ↑ Chukwu EO, Barasch E, Mihalatos DG, et al. Relative importance of errors in left ventricular quantitation by two-dimensional echocardiography: insights from three-dimensional echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. J Am Soc Echocardiogr 2008; 21: 990-7
- ↑ Badano LP, Boccalini F, Muraru D, et al. Current clinical applications of transthoracic three-dimensional echocardiography. J Cardiovasc Ultrasound 2012; 20: 1-22
- ↑ Muraru D, Badano LP, Piccoli G, et al. Validation of a novel automated border-detection algorithm for rapid and accurate quantitation of left ventricular volume based on three-dimensional echocardiography. Eur J Echocardiogr 2010; 11: 359-68
- ↑ Mor-Avi V, Jenkins C, Kuhl HP, Real-time 3-dimensional echocardiographic quantification of left ventricular volumes: multicenter study for validation with magnetoc resonance imaging and investigation of sources of error. JACC Cardiovasc Imaging 2008; 1: 413-23
- ↑ Shimada YJ, Shiota M, Siegel RJ, Shiota T. Accuracy of right ventricular volumes and function determined by three-dimensional echocardiography in comparison with magnetic resonance imaging: a meta-analysis study. J Am Soc Echocardiogr 2010; 23: 943-53
- ↑ Mor-Avi V, Yodwut C, Jenkins C, et al. Real-time 3D echocardiographic quantification of left atrial volume: multicenter study for validation with CMR. JACC Cardiovasc Imaging 2012; 5:769-77