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

Hypertension. 1999 Aug;34(2):236-41. doi: 10.1161/01.hyp.34.2.236.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Echocardiography*
  • Echocardiography, Doppler
  • Female
  • Heart Atria / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Septum / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Observer Variation
  • Random Allocation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke Volume