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Int J Cardiol. 2013 Sep 30;168(2):1306-15. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2012.12.002. Epub 2013 Jan 5.

Is 3D echocardiography superior to 2D echocardiography in general practice? A systematic review of studies published between 2007 and 2012.

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University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway, Norway; Department of Cardiology, Vestfold Hospital Trust, Tønsberg, Norway. Electronic address:



Recent developments in 3-dimensional echocardiography (3DE) have resulted in smaller probes, faster data acquisition and wider applicability. In spite of this, there is still an ongoing debate as to its ability to provide additional information to 2DE in general hospital clinical practice.


A systematic literature search in EMBASE and MEDLINE was performed in order to identify original articles comparing the two techniques. Studies with a blinded comparison between 2DE and 3DE against a "gold standard" were included; these studies comprised patients with well defined inclusion and exclusion criteria. The number of patients, selection criteria, echo manufacturer, cardiac disorder, and types of comparisons, along with "gold standard" and principal results were compared.


A total of 836 original articles were identified, of which 35 were screened for eligibility. 20 studies from 18 publications were included for analysis. The results for LV assessment and reproducibility were clearly in favour of 3DE. In valvular heart disease the superiority of 3DE was also apparent, but was less convincing due to patient selection, methodological problems and the application of questionable "gold standards".


In patients with a regular heart rhythm and for whom it was possible to obtain good quality images the introduction of 3DE has improved the accuracy and reproducibility of LV volume and EF measurements. The results for valvular heart disease are still controversial. It does not seem justifiable to introduce 3DE into common cardiac practice. Further studies are needed in order to support such an implementation.


3D echocardiography; General cardiology practice; Left ventricular function; Transthoracic; Valve assessment

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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