Importance of imaging method over imaging modality in noninvasive determination of left ventricular volumes and ejection fraction: assessment by two- and three-dimensional echocardiography and magnetic resonance imaging

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2000 Feb;35(2):477-84. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(99)00551-3.


Objectives: This study sought to determine the concordance between biplane and volumetric echocardiography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) strategies and their impact on the classification of patients according to left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction (EF) (LVEF).

Background: Transthoracic echocardiography and MRI are noninvasive imaging modalities well suited for serial evaluation of LV volume and LVEF. Despite the accuracy and reproducibility of volumetric methods, quantitative biplane methods are commonly used, as they minimize both scanning and analysis times.

Methods: Thirty-five adult subjects, including 25 patients with dilated cardiomyopathies, were evaluated by biplane and volumetric (cardiac short-axis stack) cine MRI and by biplane and volumetric (three-dimensional) transthoracic echocardiography. Left ventricular volume, LVEF and LV function categories (LVEF > or =55%, >35% to <55% and < or =35%) were then determined.

Results: Biplane echocardiography underestimated LV volume with respect to the other three strategies (p < 0.01). There were no significant differences (p > 0.05) between any of the strategies for quantitative LVEF. Volumetric MRI and volumetric echocardiography differed by a single functional category for 2 patients (8%). Six to 11 patients (24% to 44%) differed when comparing biplane and volumetric methods. Ten patients (40%) changed their functional status when biplane MRI and biplane echocardiography were compared; this comparison also revealed the greatest mean absolute difference in estimates of EF for those subjects whose EF functional category had changed.

Conclusions: Volumetric MRI and volumetric echocardiographic measures of LV volume and LVEF agree well and give similar results when used to stratify patients with dilated cardiomyopathy according to systolic function. Agreement is poor between biplane and volumetric methods and worse between biplane methods, which assigned 40% of patients to different categories according to LVEF. The choice of imaging method (volumetric or biplane) has a greater impact on the results than does the choice of imaging modality (echocardiography or MRI) when measuring LV volume and systolic function.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiac Volume*
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / classification
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / diagnosis*
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / physiopathology
  • Echocardiography, Three-Dimensional
  • Female
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Ventricles / pathology
  • Heart Ventricles / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stroke Volume*