Ten patients with nondissecting aortic aneurysm and 10 with aortic dissection proved by angiography, surgery or both, were studied by real-time, 2-dimensional echocardiography. Multiple transducer positions were used to visualize various aortic segments so that a composite image of the aorta could be formulated. Using this comprehensive approach, the site, size and extent of all nondissecting aneurysms were correctly delineated (2 ascending aorta, 3 ascending aorta plus aortic root and 5 aortic arch with brachiocephalic involvement). In all patients with aortic dissection, the condition was identified by the presence of prominent, flaplike, undulating motion of the inner dissected wall or marked parallel wall widening (≥15 mm) and correctly categorized into DeBakey type I (4 cases), II (2 cases) or III (4 cases). Pulsed Doppler studies were useful in diagnosing reopening of dissection in a patient with previous surgical obliteration of the false channel. © 1984.