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J Ultrasound Med. 2013 Dec;32(12):2101-6. doi: 10.7863/ultra.32.12.2101.

Focused physician-performed echocardiography in sports medicine: a potential screening tool for detecting aortic root dilatation in athletes.

Author information

  • 1Stanford Sports Medicine Center, 341 Galvez St, Stanford, CA 94305 USA. eugene.yim@post.harvard.edu.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether sports medicine physicians can obtain accurate measurements of the aortic root in young athletes.

METHODS:

Twenty male collegiate athletes, aged 18 to 21 years, were prospectively enrolled. Focused echocardiography was performed by a board-certified sports medicine physician and a medical student, followed by comprehensive echocardiography within 2 weeks by a cardiac sonographer. A left parasternal long-axis view was acquired to measure the aortic root diameter at the sinuses of Valsalva. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were used to assess inter-rater reliability compared to a reference standard and intra-rater reliability of repeated measurements obtained by the sports medicine physician and medical student.

RESULTS:

The ICCs between the sports medicine physician and cardiac sonographer and between the medical student and cardiac sonographer were strong: 0.80 and 0.76, respectively. Across all 3 readers, the ICC was 0.89, indicating strong inter-rater reliability and concordance. The ICC for the 2 measurements taken by the sports medicine physician for each athlete was 0.75, indicating strong intra-rater reliability. The medical student had moderate intra-rater reliability, with an ICC of 0.59.

CONCLUSIONS:

Sports medicine physicians are able to obtain measurements of the aortic root by focused echocardiography that are consistent with those obtained by a cardiac sonographer. Focused physician-performed echocardiography may serve as a promising technique for detecting aortic root dilatation and may contribute in this manner to preparticipation cardiovascular screening for athletes.

KEYWORDS:

aortic root dilatation; athletes; echocardiography; preparticipation screening; sonography; sports medicine

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