Five different algorithms for determining left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction (EF) and volumes from two-dimensional echocardiographic examination (TDE) were compared with standard methods for obtaining EF and volume from x-ray cineangiography (cine) and EF from radionuclide ventriculography (RVG) in 35 patients. Although all methods correlated positively, the degree of correlation varied with the algorithm used. For EF determination, TDE algorithms (especially those using multiple planes of section) were superior to unidimensional algorithms commonly used with M-mode echocardiography. The best algorithm (modified Simpson's rule) correlated well enough with cine EF (r = 0.78; SEE 0.097) and RVG EF (r = 0.75; SEE 0.087) to make clinically useful estimates. TDE volumes also correlated meaningfully with cine end-diastolic and end-systolic volumes (r = 0.84; n = 70) but were associated with a large standard error of the estimate (43 ml) and offered less advantage over unidimensional volume estimations. Quantitative application of TDE appears to be a useful noninvasive method of evaluating LVEF, but is not as useful for estimating LV volumes.