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Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 897431, 18 pages
Review Article

The Clinical Benefits of Adding a Third Dimension to Assess the Left Ventricle with Echocardiography

Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Padua, Via Giustiniani 2, 35123 Padua, Italy

Received 6 November 2013; Accepted 23 January 2014; Published 15 May 2014

Academic Editors: L. Agati, A. V. Bruschke, and K. Egstrup

Copyright © 2014 Luigi P. Badano. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Three-dimensional echocardiography is a novel imaging technique based on acquisition and display of volumetric data sets in the beating heart. This permits a comprehensive evaluation of left ventricular (LV) anatomy and function from a single acquisition and expands the diagnostic possibilities of noninvasive cardiology. It provides the possibility of quantitating geometry and function of LV without preestablished assumptions regarding cardiac chamber shape and allows an echocardiographic assessment of the LV that is less operator-dependent and therefore more reproducible. Further developments and improvements for widespread routine applications include higher spatial and temporal resolution to improve image quality, faster acquisition, processing and reconstruction, and fully automated quantitative analysis. At present, three-dimensional echocardiography complements routine 2DE in clinical practice, overcoming some of its limitations and offering additional valuable information that has led to recommending its use for routine assessment of the LV of patients in whom information about LV size and function is critical for their clinical management.