Background: To assess the reliability of pediatric echocardiographic measurements, we compared local measurements with those made at a central facility.
Methods and results: The comparison was based on the first echocardiographic recording obtained on 735 children of HIV-infected mothers at 10 clinical sites focusing on measurements of left ventricular (LV) dimension, wall thicknesses, and fractional shortening. The recordings were measured locally and then remeasured at a central facility. The highest agreement expressed as an intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC=0.97) was noted for LV dimension, with much lower agreement for posterior wall thickness (ICC=0.65), fractional shortening (ICC=0.64), and septal wall thickness (ICC=0.50). The mean dimension was 0.03 cm smaller in central measurements (95% prediction interval [PI], -0.32 to 0.25 cm) for which 95% PI reflects the magnitude of differences between local and central measurements. Mean posterior wall thickness was 0.02 cm larger in central measurements (95% PI, -0.18 to 0.22 cm). Mean fractional shortening was 1% smaller in central measurements. However, the 95% PI was -10% to 8%, indicating that a fractional shortening of 32% measured centrally could be anywhere between 22% and 40% when measured locally. Central measurements of mean septal thickness were approximately 0.1 cm thicker than local ones (95% PI, -0.18 to 0.34 cm). Centrally measured wall thickness was more closely related to mortality and possibly was more valid than local measurements.
Conclusions: Although LV dimension was reliably measured, local measurements of LV wall thickness and fractional shortening differed from central measurements.