The reproducibility of tricuspid regurgitant jet velocity (TRJV) measurements by Doppler echocardiography has not been subjected to systematic evaluation among individuals with sickle cell disease (SCD) undergoing screening for pulmonary hypertension. We examined sources of disagreement associated with peak TRJV in children and young adults with SCD. Peak TRJV was independently measured and interpreted a week apart by separate sonographers and readers, respectively, in 30 subjects (mean age, 15.8 ± 3.3 years) who provided 120 observations. We assessed intra-/inter-reader, intra-/inter-sonographer, sonographer-reader, and within subject agreement using Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) and Cohen's kappa (κ). Agreement was examined graphically using Bland-Altman plots. Although sonographers could estimate and measure peak TRJV in all subjects, readers designated tricuspid regurgitation nonquantifiable in 10-17% of their final interpretations. Intra-reader agreement was highest (ICC = 0.93 [95% CI 0.86, 0.97], P = 0.0001) and within subject agreement lowest (ICC = 0.36 [95% CI 0.02, 0.64], P = 0.021) for single TRJV measurements. Similarly, intra-reader agreement was highest (κ = 0.74 [95% CI 0.53, 0.95], P = 0.0001) and within subject lowest (κ = 0.14 [95% CI 20.17, 0.46], P = 0.38) when sonographers and readers categorized TRJV measurements. On Bland-Altman plots, absolute differences in observations increased with higher mean TRJV readings for intra-/inter-reader agreement. Peak TRJV measurements in individual children and young adults with SCD are affected by several sources of disagreement, underscoring the need for methodological improvements that ensure reproducibility of this screening modality for making clinical decisions in this population.
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