Reproducibility and variability in the assessment of color-coded tissue velocity imaging of the fetal myocardium¬

Nina Elmstedt, Britta Lind, Kjerstin Ferm-Widlund, Magnus Westgren, Lars-Åke Brodin


Objective: The introduction of color-coded tissue velocity imaging (TVI) in fetal medicine is quite recent, and as this method is presently evaluated and developed in regard to diagnostic precision it is of outmost importance to evaluate the reproducibility for adequate clinical use. In this study, reproducibility and intra- and inter-observer variability was assessed for offline analysis as well as echocardiography investigations. Also, we evaluated the importance of exact placement of the region of interest (ROI).

Methods: TVI recordings from 21 fetuses, at a gestational age of 27 to 41 weeks, were acquired at 208-239 frames/s for subsequent offline analysis. All recordings were performed with the transducer positioned to provide an apical four-chamber view and the myocardial velocity data was obtained from basal inferoseptum. The data set was analyzed according to Bland-Altman and reproducibility was expressed as the standard error of a single determination, estimated from duplicate determinations in percentage of the total.

Results: The variation of reproducibility for the echocardiography investigation ranged from 2.0% to 9.8%. The duration of left ventricular ejection, and the peak velocities of early diastolic filling and atrial contraction being the most robust events measured. The variation of inter-observer variability for the echocardiography investigation ranged from 1.5% to 8.4%, and the variation of intra- and inter-observer variability for the offline analysis ranged from 1.2% to 10.4%. Least robust were the events of shortest duration, including isovolumetric contraction and relaxation.

Conclusion: We believe that TVI measurements of the fetal myocardium could be performed in the clinical routine with acceptable reproducibility.

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Journal of Biomedical Graphics and Computing    ISSN 1925-4008 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4016 (Online)

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