NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Three-dimensional echocardiography is at least as good as standard transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) in assessment of aortic stenosis, researchers report in the July issue of Heart.

"Real-time 3-D imaging, which allows the spatial recognition of anatomy and function of cardiac structures including the aortic valve, is highly accurate, non-invasive, simple and can been performed at the bedside within a few minutes," lead investigator Dr. Sorel Goland told Reuters Health.

Dr. Goland, of Cedar-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and colleagues studied 33 men with aortic valve stenosis. Aortic valve area was estimated by a variety of techniques including transthoracic echo-Doppler, TEE, real-time 3-D echocardiography and 3D-guided two-dimensional planimetry.

There was good agreement among methods, but intraobserver variability, which was similar overall, was less with the 3-D techniques than with TEE.

Moreover, Dr. Goland continued, the approach "can be easily used as an additional method in cases with moderate or moderate to severe aortic stenosis, where an accurate assessment of aortic valve area may play a crucial role in decision-making for aortic valve surgery."

"This method also can provide additional important information about surrounding aortic valve structures as well as accurate quantification of left ventricular function and mass from a single acquired image," Dr. Goland concluded.

–David Douglas