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Interobserver and Intraobserver Agreement on Qualitative Assessments of Right Ventricular Dysfunction With Echocardiography in Patients With Pulmonary Embolism




To evaluate observer agreement using qualitative goal-directed echocardiographic criteria for right ventricular (RV) dysfunction prognostication in submassive pulmonary embolism (PE).


Two emergency physicians and 2 cardiologists independently reviewed 31 packets of goal-directed echocardiographic video clips consisting of at least 3 windows obtained by emergency physicians from normotensive patients with PE. Nine packets were repeated to assess for intraobserver agreement. Right ventricular dysfunction criteria on goal-directed echocardiography were as follows: RV enlargement was present, with a right-to-left ventricular basal diameter ratio of 1.0 or higher and blunting of the apex of the RV in 2 or more different windows; RV systolic dysfunction was present if the tricuspid annulus moved toward the apex 10 mm or less and there was RV free wall hypokinesis; and septal deviation was present with any flattening or deviation of the ventricular septum toward the left ventricle.


Among the 4 participants, there was 83.9% agreement on the presence or absence of RV enlargement (κ = 0.84), 74.2% agreement on the presence or absence of RV systolic dysfunction (κ = 0.69), and 71.0% agreement on the presence or absence of septal deviation (κ = 0.59). Intraobserver agreement was 100% for each RV dysfunction variable for each observer (κ = 1.0).


Agreement was substantial for both severe RV enlargement and RV systolic dysfunction and moderate for septal deviation. Right ventricular dysfunction assessment with qualitative goal-directed echocardiographic criteria is reproducible for PE risk stratification.