Author + information
- Received September 30, 2010
- Revision received June 3, 2011
- Accepted June 8, 2011
- Published online August 1, 2011.
- Amer M. Johri, MD,
- Michael H. Picard, MD,
- John Newell, BA,
- Jane E. Marshall, RDCS,
- Mary Etta E. King, MD and
- Judy Hung, MD⁎ ()
- ↵⁎Reprint requests and correspondence:
Dr. Judy Hung, Blake 256, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02114
Objectives This study sought to determine whether a formalized teaching intervention could reduce the interobserver variability (IOV) in visual estimation of left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) within a group of sonographers and physicians with a spectrum of experience.
Background Precise and reliable echocardiographic assessment of LVEF is necessary for clinical decision-making and minimizing duplicative testing. Skill in the visual estimation of LVEF varies depending on experience and is critical for corroborating EF quantification. IOV may also lead to inconsistency if multiple readers are assessing the EF on serial exams.
Methods Fourteen cases of 2-dimensional echocardiograms were shown to 25 participants who estimated the EF based on a complete assessment of LV wall motion including parasternal, short-axis, apical, and subcostal views. The cases represented a spectrum of EF range, image quality, and clinical context. Following the initial interpretations, participants underwent a teaching intervention involving tutorial review of reference cases and group discussion of each case with determination of the EF guided by quantitative measure (biplane Simpson method). Three months after the teaching intervention, 14 new cases were shown to the 25 participants following the same methodology.
Results IOV was quantified before and after the teaching intervention with the use of a 3-factor, nested analysis of variance. The factors were: observer, patient, and pre- and post-intervention (time). The analysis of variance showed that the intervention reduced the IOV for the 25 readers between the pre- and post-intervention assessments (F = 2.8, p = 0.007). The IOV decreased from ±14% EF prior to intervention to ±8.4% EF following intervention (a 40% reduction in IOV).
Conclusions In a large echocardiography laboratory with a wide range of training levels and experience, a simple, formalized teaching intervention can successfully diminish IOV of LVEF assessment. This intervention provides not only discrete quality measures, but also serves as a practical tool to document and improve quality of reporting, potentially reducing clinical inefficiencies and repeat testing.
All authors have reported that they have no relationships relevant to the contents of this paper to disclose.
- Received September 30, 2010.
- Revision received June 3, 2011.
- Accepted June 8, 2011.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation