Valvular and congenital heart disease

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Although for many years cardiac catheterization was the method of choice to establish a diagnosis of valvular or congenital heart disease and assess its severity, echocardiography is probably the most important imaging modality in this setting at present. Two-dimensional echocardiography can characterize the morphology of cardiac valves and the etiology of valvular disease. Doppler imaging can measure flow velocity across stenotic or regurgitant valves and estimate corresponding pressure gradients using the modified Bernoulli equation ( CD...Eigure..4). Doppler studies have also been shown to quantify stenotic valve areas reliably using the continuity equation and pressure half-time methods. Color Doppler imaging permits identification and characterization of regurgitant flow and thus helps to assess the severity of regurgitant lesions or shunt flow.

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