We demonstrate a field programmable gate-array-based real-time optical Doppler tomography system. A complex-valued bandpass filter is used for the first time in optical coherence tomography signal processing to create the analytic signal. This method simplifies the filter design, and allows efficient and compact implementation by combining the conversion to an analytic signal with a pulse shaping function without the need for extra resources as compared to the Hilbert transform method. The conversion of the analytic signal to amplitude and phase is done by use of the coordinate rotation digital computer (CORDIC) algorithm, which is an efficient algorithm that maps well to the field programmable gate array. Flow phantom experiments, and the use of this system for in vivo imaging of cardiac dynamics in the chick embryo, are presented. We demonstrate the visualization of blood flow in the early embryonic heart as well as in the aorta, small peripheric vitelline vessels, and coronary arteries of fully formed chick hearts. (c) 2009 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.