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Accurate measurement of left-ventricular (LV) volume and function are important to monitor disease progression and assess prognosis in patients with heart disease. Existing methods of three-dimensional (3-D) imaging of the heart using ultrasound have shown the potential of this modality, but each suffers from inherent restrictions which limit its applicability to the full range of clinical situations. The authors have developed a technique for image acquisition using a magnetic-field system to track the 3-D echocardiographic imaging planes and 3-D image analysis software including the piecewise smooth subdivision method for surface reconstruction. The technique offers several advantages over existing methods of 3-D echocardiography. The results of validation using in vitro LV's show that the technique allows accurate measurement of LV volume and anatomically accurate 3-D reconstruction of LV shape and is, therefore, suitable for analysis of regional as well as global function.