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Tissue Doppler echocardiography

John Gorcsan, III, MD
Section Editor
Warren J Manning, MD
Deputy Editor
Susan B Yeon, MD, JD, FACC


Tissue Doppler echocardiography (TDE) has become an established component of the diagnostic ultrasound examination; it permits an assessment of myocardial motion using Doppler ultrasound imaging, often with color coding. The technique uses frequency shifts of ultrasound waves to calculate myocardial velocity; this is similar to routine Doppler ultrasound to assess blood flow, but its technological features focus on lower velocity frequency shifts. (See "Principles of Doppler echocardiography".)

Although Doppler ultrasound has been in widespread clinical use to assess intracardiac blood flow and noninvasive hemodynamics for many years, interest in TDE increased significantly when the color-coded TDE method was introduced [1-6]. Routine echocardiographic assessment of regional left ventricular (LV) wall motion is subjective because it is determined by visual determination of endocardial excursion and wall thickening. TDE offers the promise of an objective measure to quantify regional and global LV function through the assessment of myocardial velocity data.


Two techniques are used to assess myocardial function: pulsed-tissue Doppler echocardiography (TDE) and color-coded TDE, which is an extension of the pulsed-Doppler technique.

Tissue Doppler ultrasonography utilizes modifications of blood flow Doppler technology and calculates velocity from frequency shifts in received ultrasound data in a similar manner. Thus, the fundamental units are velocity observed from the echocardiographic transducer as a frame of reference. A primary advantage of tissue Doppler echocardiography (TDE) is that Doppler shifts of tissue motion are of high amplitude, being approximately 40 dB higher than Doppler signals from blood flow [1,7]. An instrumentation feature common to both pulsed and color-coded TDE involves removal of the high-pass filter used for routine Doppler to assess blood flow in order to focus on the lower velocity values of myocardial motion [1,2,7].

Pulsed-TDE — Pulsed-TDE is available on all contemporary commercial echocardiography systems. The details of TDE set-up are unique to each system, but TDE is generally executed though a system preset feature. Operation is then very similar to routine pulsed-Doppler, with adjustments of the scale and sweep speed to optimize the spectral display, similar to pulsed-Doppler of blood flow. The gate of the sample volume of pulsed-TDE is usually opened to 1 cm and directed to assess the region of interest that is most commonly the mitral annulus. For color-TDE, routine color flow instrumentation uses the autocorrelator technique to calculate and display multigated points of color-coded blood velocity along a series of ultrasound scan lines within a two-dimensional sector [8]. Color-coded blood velocity data are then superimposed on conventional gray scale two-dimensional images in real time.

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Literature review current through: Dec 2017. | This topic last updated: Nov 17, 2015.
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