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28-07-2010 | Cardiology | Article

Novel 3D echo technique improves congenital heart defect identification


Southampton University NHS trust website

MedWire News: A leading cardiologist from Southampton General Hospital, UK, has developed a novel technique to improve the accuracy of cardiac visualization during three-dimensional echocardiography (3D echo).

The method, known as multiplane review (MPR) 3D echo, increases the accuracy of congenital heart defect identification by allowing the dissection of standard 3D echo images into infinitely small sections.

Until now, conventional diagnosis of congenital heart defects has relied mainly on two-dimensional imaging and exploratory surgery. In contrast, MPR 3D echo can "visualize even more than a surgeon can during an operation, minimizing the need for additional and invasive assessments," said Joseph Vettukattil, the pioneer of the technique.

Even the more recent 3D scans available in many UK hospitals cannot allow the definitive dissection of the defect in a patient's heart, commented Vettukattil.

"By using MPR, because you are slicing and seeing it in three different planes, you can get a clear understanding of a patient, especially in a child whose heart is congenitally malformed," he said.

Vettukattil, who began the development of MPR 3D echo from pre-existing software in 2003, told MedWire News that the technique is now "routinely used at Southampton for the clinical management of patients."

He added: "Images acquired elsewhere can be dissected and analyzed [via] email or uploaded on to the web from other units." Vettukattil now hopes to establish a web-based system for 3D echo support in the near future.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Lauretta Ihonor

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