Validity of echocardiographic measurement in an epidemiological study: Project HeartBeat!

Shifan Dai*, Nancy A. Ayres, Ronald B. Harrist, J. Timothy Bricker, Darwin R. Labarthe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


In Project HeartBeat!, a longitudinal study of cardiovascular disease risk factors in healthy children and adolescents, 3 samples of 40, 80, and 182 echocardiograms, respectively, were randomly selected and reread to evaluate intraobserver and interobserver variabilities and comparability between measurements of field echocardiographic technicians and reference readings at Texas Children's Hospital. Included in the evaluation were 8 M- mode echocardiographic measurements, ie, aortic root diameter, left atrial diameter, and end-diastolic and end-systolic measurements of interventricular septal thickness, left ventricular (LV) diameter, and LV posterior wall thickness; 8 Doppler measurements; and a calculated LV mass. Means and SDs of the differences of the paired measurements were used to assess the relative bias and random error of the measurements. For the intraobserver comparison, means and SDs of the differences were very small, indicating that the echo measurements were performed consistently by each project echo technician. Interobserver comparison showed statistically but not clinically significant differences between the paired readings of end-diastolic septal thickness, end-systolic LV posterior wall thickness, and 5 Doppler measurements. Comparison with reference readings at Texas Children's Hospital showed significant differences in diastolic LV diameter, systolic septal thickness, and right ventricular ejection time. These differences, however, were minimal with limited clinical significance. Mean differences in LV mass for the corresponding comparisons were -1.82, 4.50, and 0.0013 g, and the SDs were 18.79, 24.16, and 12.35 g, respectively. We conclude that the echocardiographic measurements taken from healthy children in a longitudinal study can be made accurately with acceptable reproducibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-241
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1999


  • Echocardiography
  • Left ventricular mass
  • Observer variation
  • Population study
  • Reproducibility of results

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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