A new method to measure cardiac output using transgastric continuous-wave Doppler was evaluated in 31 consecutive patients undergoing cardiac surgery with simultaneous measurement of cardiac output by the thermodilution technique. A 5 MHz single-plane imaging/5 MHz continuouswave Doppler transesophageal transducer was used to image the left ventricular outflow tract, aortic valve and ascending aorta from a modified transgastric short-axis plane. The continuouswave Doppler cursor was aligned parallel with blood flow across the aortic valve to obtain the maximal Doppler velocity spectra. Stroke volume was obtained by multiplying the mean Doppler flow velocity integral by the aortic annulus area, which was calculated from its diameter measured from the esophageal 5-chamber view. The stroke volume was multiplied by heart rate to yield cardiac output. A total of 57 simultaneous thermodilution and Doppler studies were attempted. Doppler data were technically limited for 2 patients both before and after cardiopulmonary bypass and for 3 patients before cardiopulmonary bypass with a result of 50 adequate studies of 57 (88%) attempted. The Doppler-derived cardiac outputs were correlated with the simultaneous measurements of cardiac output by the thermodilution technique. Linear regression analysis revealed a close correlation with R = 0.91, SEE = 0.8 liter/ min, and y = 1.01x + 0.2 (p < 0.001). In conclusion, transgastric continuous-wave Doppler across the aortic valve is a promising new technique that may be used in selected patients for accurate measurement of cardiac output.