The variability of the interpretation by two individuals of a combined echocardiographic and Doppler method of calculating output was studied in 30 normal adults. In each subject three separate cardiac cycles were recorded to calculate maximal mitral valve orifice, the ratio of mean to maximal mitral valve leaflet separation, and the mean flow velocity through the mitral valve. The recordings were digitised twice by two independent observers. Estimates of cardiac output ranged from 3.2 to 8.11 1/min. Analysis of variance showed that interobserver and intraobserver variability for these measurements was 5.8% and 6.1% respectively. It is concluded that the reproducibility for interpreting this non-invasive method is adequate for clinical use in adults with cardiac outputs within the normal range.
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