Over the last 2 to 3 decades echocardiography has come a considerable distance from the early M-mode machines, and has become an indispensable diagnostic tool in any cardiovascular department. It has long been proven to be safe and cost effective, and its clinical versatility has steadily increased with the continued integration of newer techniques, such as two-dimensional and harmonic imaging, Doppler, and much more.
One of the more recent developments in the field is three-dimensional echocardiography (3DE). 3DE, in various forms, has been used as a research tool for many years now, but lately improvements in software and transducer technology have begun to facilitate its integration into clinical practice. As with any technique, 3DE has its strengths and weaknesses and these must be fully appreciated if it is to be utilised effectively.
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