Background Left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) is a significant predictor of morbidity and mortality; however, the optimal noninvasive modality for the quantitative determination of LVEF is not apparent.
Hypothesis We verified the hypothesis that the various echocardiography methods of assessing LVEF using the Method of Discs with contrast (Optison human albumin microspheres; Amersham Health, Princeton, NJ) and visual assessment of LVEF using tissue harmonics and contrast harmonics compare favorably with radionuclide angiography (RNA).
Methods In a prospective analysis, 24 consecutive patients scheduled to undergo RNA had an echocardiogram using tissue harmonics and contrast harmonics on the same day. LVEF was assessed by RNA by an experienced, blinded reader using manual determination of the region of interest. LVEF was calculated using the Method of Discs (Simpson's Rule) by a blinded sonographer. LVEF was visually estimated by two blinded readers using echocardiography with tissue harmonics and contrast harmonics on separate occasions.
Results By linear regression analysis, LVEF determination by echocardiography with contrast using the Method of Discs correlated well with RNA (r = .835, p < .0005). Using Bland-Altman analysis, the second echocardiogram reader had excellent agreement with RNA, whereas the first reader had a mean difference of 5.25% (CI 1.3-9.2; p = .012) with visual assessment using tissue harmonics and a mean difference of 4.67% (CI 0.4-8.8; p = .031) with visual assessment using contrast harmonics compared with RNA. Thus, a small difference in agreement between RNA and echocardiographic visual estimation was noted that appeared to be primarily reader dependent.
Conclusions LVEF determination with echocardiography with contrast using the Method of Discs correlated well with RNA and provided agreement across a range of cardiac functions. Visual echocardiographic assessment of LVEF with both tissue harmonics and contrast harmonics correlated well with RNA, but contrast harmonics did not appear to offer an advantage over tissue harmonics alone.