• What are the components that contribute to variability in echocardiographic measurements in aortic stenosis?
  • Cecaro, Fabrizio <1976>


  • MED/11 Malattie dell'apparato cardiovascolare


  • INTRODUCTION Echocardiography is the standard clinical approach for quantification of the severity of aortic stenosis (AS). A comprehensive examination of its overall reproducibility and the simultaneous estimation of its variance components by multiple operators, readers, probe applications, and beats have not been undertaken. METHOD AND RESULTS Twenty-seven subjects with AS were scanned over 7 months in the echo-department by a median of 3 different operators. From each patient and each operator multiple runs of beats from multiple probe positions were stored for later analysis by multiple readers. The coefficient of variation was 13.3%, 15.9%, 17.6%, and 20.2% for the aortic peak velocity (Vmax), and velocity time integral (VTI), and left ventricular outflow tract (LVOT) Vmax and VTI respectively. The largest individual contributors to the overall variability were the beat-to-beat variability (9.0%, 9.3%, 9.5%, 9.4% respectively) and that of inability of an individual operator to precisely apply the probe to the same position twice (8.3%, 9.4%, 12.9%, 10.7% respectively). The tracing (inter-reader) and reader (inter-reader), and operator (inter-operator) contribution were less important. CONCLUSIONS Reproducibility of measurements in AS is poorer than often reported in the literature. The source of this variability does not appear, as traditionally believed, to result from a lack of training or operator and reader specific factors. Rather the unavoidable beat-to-beat biological variability, and the inherent impossibility of applying the ultrasound probe in exactly the same position each time are the largest contributors. Consequently, guidelines suggesting greater standardisation of procedures and further training for sonographers are unlikely to result in an improvement in precision. Clinicians themselves should be wary of relying on even three-beat averages as their expected coefficient of variance is 10.3% for the peak velocity at the aortic valve.


  • 2013-05-29


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Cecaro, Fabrizio (2013) What are the components that contribute to variability in echocardiographic measurements in aortic stenosis?, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Fisiopatologia dell'insufficienza cardiaca , 25 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/5877.