• Open Access

Methods and Reliability of Tissue Doppler Imaging for Assessment of Left Ventricular Radial Wall Motion in Horses


  • aSchwarzwald CC, Schober KE, Bonagura JD. Echocardiographic characterization of left ventricular radial wall motion in horses using tissue Doppler imaging: Methodology and reliability. J Vet Int Med 2007;21:590.

  • Previously presented at 25th Annual Forum of the ACVIM, Seattle, WA, June 6–9, 2007.a

Corresponding author: Colin C. Schwarzwald, Dr. med. vet., PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, Equine Department, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 260, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland; e-mail: cschwarzwald@vetclinics.uzh.ch.


Background: Noninvasive assessment of left ventricular (LV) function is incompletely studied in horses.

Objectives: The goals of this study were to investigate the feasibility, techniques, and reliability of tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) for characterization of LV radial wall motion in healthy horses.

Animals: Three Standardbreds, 3 Thoroughbreds; age 8–14 years; body weight 517–606 kg.

Methods: Repeated echocardiographic examinations were performed by 2 observers in unsedated horses using TDI. Test reliability was determined by estimating measurement variability, within-day interobserver variability, and between-day interobserver and intraobserver variability of all echocardiographic variables. Variability was expressed as coefficient of variation (CV) and the absolute value below which the difference between 2 measurements will lie with 95% probability.

Results: Assessment of LV radial wall motion by TDI was feasible in all horses. Measurement variabilities were very low (CV < 5%) to low (CV 5–15%) for most variables. Within-day interobserver variability as well as between-day interobserver and intraobserver variabilities were low to moderate (CV 16–25%) for most variables. All pulsed-wave TDI variables of systolic LV function showed very low to low variability, whereas some of the variables of LV diastolic and LA function showed moderate to high (CV > 25%) variability. Pulsed-wave TDI variables appeared more reliable than color TDI variables.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Measurement of TDI indices of LV function is feasible and reliable in adult Standardbred and Thoroughbred horses. The clinical relevance of LV function assessment by TDI remains to be determined.