This new the harmless, non-invasive tool is revealing some things that up until now required driving a catheter into the hear though 19 year old Jeff Addy hikes a lot, when he climbed Saturday to the top of King's Peak, he started feeling weak - something he had never experienced before. "Real hard time breathing, getting tired easily, headache, [and] chills," says Jeff.
The symptoms are typical of altitude sickness, but just to make sure doctors put his heart under the non-invasive probe of a new 3D ultrasound. In 2D, this is about all you can see of the left ventricle of the heart. But in three dimension, all the detail comes out, including what is affectionately called the fish lip movement of the valve. "Well, it's just amazing. You can see the texture in so much more detail - kind of get more of an idea what it really looks like," says Jeff. From the bottom looking up to the top looking down the 3D moves around and through and into areas sometimes hiding subtle irregularities in real time.
Using the same technology, researchers can also set up parameters to literally map all the intricate movements of the heart. the kind of electrical movements which sometimes get out of whack causing erratic heart rhythms.
"What an advantage to see all of the walls of the heart beating at the same time in one view - and know where the areas are that need to be sped up to catch up with the rest of the heart and beat in a more coordinated fashion," says Dr. Kevin Whitehead.
Jeff may or may not have any subtle things going on, but if he does this 3D ultrasound will seek it out.