The Evolution of Three-Dimensional Echocardiography: From the Initial Concept to Real-Time Imaging
For decades, cardiac ultrasound had an important advantage over computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging by virtue of its dynamic nature resulting in anatomically correct cross-sectional views of the beating heart. Nevertheless, it has remained limited to a single cut-plane at a time, necessitating sequential imaging of multiple views and considerable expertise to mentally align them in order to visualize the complex three-dimensional cardiac anatomy and detect abnormalities. Recent technological developments resulted in real-time three-dimensional ultrasound imaging of the heart, which is quickly conquering the clinical arena and adds unprecedented new dimensions to the diagnosis of heart disease. The goal of this chapter is to review the evolution of 3D echocardiography and describe the milestones this technology has gone through, and to highlight the promises and setbacks that drive the technological development towards the realization of its full potential.
KeywordsThree-dimensional imaging Ultrasound imaging Transthoracic echocardiography Transesophageal echocardiography Real-time imaging
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