Classification of left ventricular size: diameter or volume with contrast echocardiography?

Gibson PH, Becher H, Choy JB

Open Heart 2014;1(1):e000147

PMID: 25525505


BACKGROUND: Left ventricular (LV) size is an important clinical variable, commonly assessed at echocardiography by measurement of the internal diameter in diastole (IDD). However, this has recognised limitations and volumetric measurement from apical views is considered superior, particularly with the use of echocardiographic contrast. We sought to determine the agreement in classification of LV size by different measures in a large population of patients undergoing echocardiography.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Data were analysed retrospectively from consecutive patients (n=2008, 61% male, median 62 years) who received echocardiographic contrast for LV opacification over 3 years in a single institution. Repeat studies were not included. LVIDD was measured, and LV end-diastolic volume (LVEDV) calculated using Simpson’s biplane method. Both measures were indexed (i) to body surface area and categorised according to the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) guidelines as normal, mild, moderate or severely dilated. Of 320 patients with a severely dilated LVEDVi, only 95 (30%) were similarly classified by LVIDD, with 86 patients (27%) measuring in the normal range. LVIDDi agreement was poorer, with only 43 patients (13%) classified as being severely dilated, and 173 (54%) measuring in the normal range.

CONCLUSIONS: Currently recommended echocardiographic measures of LV size show limited agreement when classified according to currently recommended cut-offs. LV diameter should have a limited role in the assessment of LV size, particularly where a finding of LV dilation has important diagnostic or therapeutic implications.