Effect of tissue Doppler on the accuracy of novice and expert interpreters of dobutamine echocardiography

Am J Cardiol. 2001 Aug 15;88(4):400-5. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9149(01)01687-3.


The subjective interpretation of dobutamine echocardiography (DBE) makes the accuracy of this technique dependent on the experience of the observer, and also poses problems of concordance between observers. Myocardial tissue Doppler velocity (MDV) may offer a quantitative technique for identification of coronary artery disease, but it is unclear whether this parameter could improve the results of less expert readers and in segments with low interobserver concordance. The aim of this study was to find whether MDV improved the accuracy of wall motion scoring in novice readers, experienced echocardiographers, and experts in stress echocardiography, and to identify the optimal means of integrating these tissue Doppler data in 77 patients who underwent DBE and angiography. New or worsening abnormalities were identified as ischemia and abnormalities seen at rest as scarring. Segmental MDV was measured independently and previously derived cutoffs were applied to categorize segments as normal or abnormal. Five strategies were used to combine MDV and wall motion score, and the results of each reader using each strategy were compared with quantitative coronary angiography. The accuracy of wall motion scoring by novice (68 +/- 3%) and experienced echocardiographers (71 +/- 3%) was less than experts in stress echocardiography (88 +/- 3%, p <0.001). Various strategies for integration with MDV significantly improved the accuracy of wall motion scoring by novices from 75 +/- 2% to 77 +/- 5% (p <0.01). Among the experienced group, accuracy improved from 74 +/- 2% to 77 +/- 5% (p <0.05), but in the experts, no improvement was seen from their baseline accuracy. Integration with MDV also improved discordance related to the basal segments. Thus, use of MDV in all segments or MDV in all segments with wall motion scoring in the apex offers an improvement in sensitivity and accuracy with minimal compromise in specificity.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Cardiotonic Agents*
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Vessels / physiology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dobutamine*
  • Echocardiography, Doppler / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Dobutamine