Two-dimensional and color Doppler echocardiography accurately detected the presence of an atrial septal defect (ASD) in 47 of 50 adults (mean age 40 years) confirmed by surgery or cardiac catheterization, or both. It correctly categorized all patients with ostium secundum and ostium primum ASD but misdiagnosed 3 of 5 patients with surgically proven sinus venosus ASD. The shunt flow volume across the ASD was calculated with the standard Doppler equation, and assuming the ASD to be circular correlated with shunt flow volume obtained by cardiac catheterization (r = 0.74). The maximum width of the color flow signals moving across the ASD was taken as its diameter. Mean flow velocity was determined either by placing a pulsed Doppler sample volume parallel to the flow across the ASD as visualized by color Doppler or by color M-mode examination, which allowed determination of flow velocities using a previously validated method that incorporates a computer analysis of pixel color intensity. The pulmonary to systemic blood flow ratio obtained by color-guided conventional Doppler interrogation of the left and right ventricular outflow tracts correlated poorly with cardiac catheterization results (r = 0.38). In patients with associated tricuspid regurgitation, the peak systolic pulmonary artery pressure obtained by color Doppler-guidfed continuous-wave Doppler correlated well with that obtained at cardiac catheterization (r = 0.89). The maximum color Doppler jet width of the flow across the ASD poorly correlated with ASD size estimated at surgery (r = 0.50). © 1991.