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World J Cardiol. 2012 Feb 26;4(2):31-5. doi: 10.4330/wjc.v4.i2.31.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening during transthoracic echocardiography: Cardiologist and vascular medicine specialist interpretation.

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  • 1E Viviana Navas, Andrea McCalla-Lewis, Sergio L Pinski, Gian M Novaro, Craig R Asher, Department of Cardiology, Cleveland Clinic Florida, Weston, FL 33327, United States.



To study the interobserver variability between a cardiologist and vascular medicine specialist in the screening of the abdominal aorta during transthoracic echocardiography (TTE).


Consecutive patients, > 55 years of age, underwent abdominal aortic imaging following standard TTE. Two cardiologists and one vascular medicine specialist performed a blinded review of the images. Interobserver agreement of abdominal aortic size was determined by the correlation coefficient and paired t test. Interobserver reliability for each cardiologist was assessed using Bland-Altman plots.


Ninety patients were studied. The mean age of patients was 72 ± 10 years and 48% were male. The mean aortic diameter was 2.31 ± 0.50 cm and 5 patients (5.5%) had an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). The additional time required for the abdominal aortic images was 4.4 ± 0.9 min per patient. Interobserver agreement between the 2 cardiologist interpreters and the vascular medicine specialist was excellent (P > 0.05 for all comparisons). On Bland-Altman analysis of interobserver reliability, the 95% lower and upper limits for measurement by the cardiologists were 84% and 124% of that of the vascular specialist.


The assessment of the abdominal aorta during a routine TTE performed by a cardiologist is accurate in comparison to that of a vascular medicine specialist. In selected patients undergoing TTE, the detection rate of AAA is significant. Additional time and effort required to perform imaging of the abdominal aorta after TTE is less than 5 min.


Abdominal aorta diameter; Screening; Transthoracic echocardiography

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