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Measuring the quality of echocardiography using the predictive value of the left ventricular ejection fraction.

Heidenreich PA, Maddox TM, Nath J. Measuring the quality of echocardiography using the predictive value of the left ventricular ejection fraction. Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography : official publication of the American Society of Echocardiography. 2013 Mar 1; 26(3):237-42.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: One of the main challenges for imaging laboratories is demonstrating the quality of their studies. The aim of this study was to determine if echocardiographic training and experience are associated with the accuracy of left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) reporting using all-cause mortality as the gold standard. METHODS: Survival was determined for consecutive patients undergoing echocardiography at one of four academic facilities. The relationship between LVEF and survival was determined for different groups of physician readers and sonographers on the basis of board certification and experience. Studies of physicians reading < 200 studies were excluded. RESULTS: Data from 63,108 patients and 40 physicians were included. There was moderate variation across physicians in the relationship between LVEF and 1-year mortality (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve interquartile range, 0.56-0.64). The relationship between LVEF and 1-year mortality was stronger for physicians board certified in echocardiography (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.60; 95% confidence interval, 0.59-0.61) compared with those not certified (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.56; 95% confidence interval, 0.55-0.57; P < .0001). Physician experience, years since training, and sonographer experience and certification were not clearly associated with the predictive value of LVEF. After adjustment for patient characteristics, the LVEF-mortality association of board-certified physicians remained stronger than the LVEF-mortality association of those not certified. CONCLUSIONS: LVEF as determined by physicians board certified in echocardiography was associated with a stronger relationship with mortality than as determined by those not certified. The LVEF-mortality relationship may be useful as one measure of the quality of imaging.





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