Ejection fraction (EF) is the most commonly used parameter of left ventricular (LV) systolic function and can be assessed by echocardiography. Quantitative echocardiography is time consuming and is as accurate as visual estimation, which has significant variability. We hypothesized that each echocardiographer has developed a mental set of guidelines that relate to how much individual segment shortening constitutes normal function or hypokinesis of varying extents. We determined the accuracy of applying these guidelines to an accepted technique of EF determination using a retrospective analysis of consecutive two-dimensional echocardiographic studies performed on patients who had radioventriculography (RVG) within 48 hours. Using a 12 segment model, we scored each segment at the base and mid-ventricular level based on segmental excursion and thickening. The apex was scored similarly but with 1/3 of the value based on a cylinder-cone model. EF was determined from the sum of segment scores and was estimated visually. We termed this approach visual quantitative estimation (VQE). We correlated the EF derived from VQE and visual estimation with RVG EF. In the training set, VQE demonstrated a strong correlation with RVG (r = 0.969), which was significantly greater than visual estimation (r = 0.896, P < 0.01). The limits of agreement for VQE (+12% to -7%) were similar to the limits of RVG agreement with contrast ventriculography (+10% to -11%) with similar intraobserver and interobserver variabilities. Similar correlation was noted in the prediction set between VQE and RVG EF (r = 0.967, P < 0.001). We conclude that VQE provides highly correlated estimates of EF with RVG.
- Ventricular function