Reference Values for Echocardiography in Middle-Aged Population: The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study

Echocardiography. 2016 Feb;33(2):193-206. doi: 10.1111/echo.13025. Epub 2015 Aug 1.


Background: Population and sex-specific reference limits produced with modern ultrasound equipment are needed for accurate clinical echocardiography diagnostics. We report a comprehensive set of reference limits of cardiac function and dimensions in a group of young and middle-aged Finnish men and women produced by the recommendations of European Society of Echocardiography and American Society of Cardiology.

Methods and results: Cardiac structure and function was studied in a standardized comprehensive echocardiographic examination in 1,079 healthy volunteers without cardiovascular diseases or major known risk factors participating in the population-based Young Finns study (444 men and 635 women, age range 34 and 49 years). We present sex-specific reference values for echocardiographic parameters reflecting cardiac structure (ventricular and atrial dimensions and volumes, left ventricular wall thickness and mass, aortic root) and function. From the 86 measured parameters, only 7 were not statistically significantly different between sexes.

Conclusion: The Young Finns study provides echocardiographic reference ranges for cardiac structure and function quantification that can be utilized to enhance the accuracy or echocardiography diagnostics. The results emphasize the need for sex-specific assessment for most echocardiographic parameters.

Keywords: echocardiography; left atrium; left ventricular function; right atrium; right ventricle; tissue Doppler echocardiography.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Stroke Volume