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Advances in computer processing speed and memory along with the advent of the microbeam former that can sample an entire crystal of the ultrasound transducer made possible the performance of 3-dimensional echocardiography in real time (RT3DE). The miniaturization of a 3-dimensional transducer permitting its extension to transesophageal mode rapidly expanded its use in a variety of conditions. Recent development of user-friendly automated/semiautomated cropping and display software may make it rather simple, even for the novice to gather useful information from RT3DE. We discuss the background, technique, and cutting-edge research and novel clinical applications of advanced RT3DE, including left ventricular dyssynchrony assessment, 3-D speckle tracking, myocardial contrast echocardiography, complete 4-dimensional (4-D) shape and motion analysis of the left ventricle, 4-D volumetric analysis of the right ventricle, 3-D volume rendering of the mitral valve, and other percutaneous and surgical procedural applications.