BACKGROUND: This pilot study was performed to evaluate whether virtual reality is applicable for three-dimensional echocardiography and if three-dimensional echocardiographic 'holograms' have the potential to become a clinically useful tool. METHODS: Three-dimensional echocardiographic data sets from 2 normal subjects and from 4 patients with a mitral valve pathological condition were included in the study. The three-dimensional data sets were acquired with the Philips Sonos 7500 echo-system and transferred to the BARCO (Barco N.V., Kortrijk, Belgium) I-space. Ten independent observers assessed the 6 three-dimensional data sets with and without mitral valve pathology. After 10 minutes' instruction in the I-Space, all of the observers could use the virtual pointer that is necessary to create cut planes in the hologram. RESULTS: The 10 independent observers correctly assessed the normal and pathological mitral valve in the holograms (analysis time approximately 10 minutes). CONCLUSION: this report shows that dynamic holographic imaging of three-dimensional echocardiographic data is feasible. However, the applicability and use-fullness of this technology in clinical practice is still limited.

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Keywords *Computer Graphics, *User-Computer Interface, Echocardiography, Three-Dimensional/*methods, Feasibility Studies, Holography/*methods, Humans, Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted/*methods, Mitral Valve Insufficiency/*ultrasonography, Pilot Projects, Reproducibility of Results, Sensitivity and Specificity
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Journal Cardiovascular Ultrasound
van den Bosch, A.E, Koning, A.H.J, Meijboom, F.J, Vletter-McGhie, J.S, Simoons, M.L, van der Spek, P.J, & Bogers, A.J.J.C. (2005). Dynamic 3D echocardiography in virtual reality. Cardiovascular Ultrasound, 3. doi:10.1186/1476-7120-3-37