• Open Access

M-Mode Echocardiographic Ratio Indices in Normal Dogs, Cats, and Horses: A Novel Quantitative Method


Tufts University, 200 Westboro Road, North Grafton, MA 01536; e-mail: donald.brown@tufts.edu.


A novel method for quantitative echocardiographic interpretations is introduced based on the calculation of ratio indices in which each raw M-mode measurement is divided by the aortic root dimension (Ao). “Aorta-based” indices were calculated with the animal's measured aortic root dimension (Aom) as the length standard. Conversely, “weight-based” indices employed an idealized estimate of aortic dimension (Aow) with a weighted least squares linear regression against the cube root of body weight (Aow=kW1/3). Use of these indices circumvented undesirable statistical characteristics inherent in linear regression of echocardiographic dimensions against body weight and, to a lesser extent, body surface area. Compared with the regressions, ratio indices resulted in substantial refinement of the predictive range for each M-mode measurement in dogs, particularly with decreasing body size. Weight-based indices outperformed aorta-based indices in this regard. To refine the predictive range, neither type of index was clearly advantageous in cats compared with the simple average method typically employed for that species. Several of the raw M-mode measurements, however, were correlated with body weight in cats and horses, indicating the need for an appropriate correction for body size in these species. The ratio index method was suitable for this purpose. Summary statistics derived from normal dogs (n = 53), cats (n = 32), and horses (n = 17) are presented for each index, including novel clinical indices calculated from area ratios. The latter were designed to represent body size-adjusted left ventricular stroke area (ie, volume overload) and myocardial wall area (ie, hypertrophy).