Digital storage and analysis of color Doppler echocardiograms

Shalabh Chandra, James D. Thomas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Color Doppler flow mapping has played an important role in clinical echocardiography. Most of the clinical work, however, has been primarily qualitative. Although qualitative information is very valuable, there is considerable quantitative information stored within the velocity map that has not been extensively exploited so far. Recently, many researchers have shown interest in using the encoded velocities to address the clinical problems such as quantification of valvular regurgitation, calculation of cardiac output, and characterization of ventricular filling. In this article, we review some basic physics and engineering aspects of color Doppler echocardiography, as well as drawbacks of trying to retrieve velocities from video tape data. Digital storage, which plays a critical role in performing quantitative analysis, is discussed in some detail with special attention to velocity encoding in DICOM 3.0 (medical image storage standard) and the use of digital compression. Lossy compression can considerably reduce file size with minimal loss of information (mostly redundant); this is critical for digital storage because of the enormous amount of data generated (a 10 minute study could require 18 Gigabytes of storage capacity). Lossy JPEG compression and its impact on quantitative analysis has been studied, showing that images compressed at 27:1 using the JPEG algorithm compares favorably with directly digitized video images, the current goldstandard. Some potential applications of these velocities in analyzing the proximal convergence zones, mitral inflow, and some areas of future development are also discussed in the article.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-102
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997


  • color
  • digital
  • Doppler
  • echocardiography
  • quantitative
  • velocities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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