Morphological and Functional Assessment of the Right Ventricle Using 3D Echocardiography

Bálint Károly Lakatos1, Márton Tokodi1, Erika Kispál1, Béla Merkely1, Attila Kovács1
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Traditionally, it was believed that the right side of the heart has a minor role in circulation; however, more and more data suggest that right ventricular (RV) function has strong diagnostic and prognostic power in various cardiovascular disorders. Due to its complex morphology and function, assessment of the RV by conventional two-dimensional echocardiography is limited: the everyday clinical practice usually relies on simple linear dimensions and functional measures. Three-dimensional (3D) echocardiography overcame these limitations by providing volumetric quantification of the RV free of geometrical assumptions. Here, we offer a step-by-step guide to obtain and analyze 3D echocardiographic data of the RV using the leading commercially available software. We will quantify 3D RV volumes and ejection fraction. Several technical aspects may help to improve the quality of RV acquisition and analysis as well, which we present in a practical manner. We review the current opportunities and the limiting factors of this method and also highlight the potential applications of 3D RV assessment in current clinical practice.