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The study of left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy is hindered by problems with LV mass measurement by echocardiography. Both the M-mode and 2D area-length formulas for calculating LV mass assume a fixed geometric shape, which may be a source of error. We examined this hypothesis by using cardiovascular magnetic resonance images to eliminate the confounding effects of acoustic access and image quality. LV mass was measured directly in 212 healthy subjects by means of a standard 3D cardiovascular magnetic resonance technique. LV mass was also calculated by using the cube-function and area-length formulas with measurements from the magnetic resonance images. A comparison of serial measurements was made by examining the changes in LV mass by all 3 techniques in those completing an exercise program (n=140). The cube-function technique showed a consistent underestimation of LV mass of 14.3 g, and there were wide 95% limits of agreement (+/-57.6 g and +/-46.3 g for cube-function and area-length techniques, respectively) when compared with 3D measurement. There were similarly wide limits of agreement for the change in mass (+/-55.2 g and +/-44.8 g for cube-function and area-length, respectively). The assumption of geometric shape in the cube-function and area-length formulas resulted in significant variation in LV mass estimates from direct measurement by using a 3D technique. The technique cannot be recommended either at a single time point or for serial studies in small populations; 3D imaging techniques, such as cardiovascular magnetic resonance, are preferable.


Journal article



Publication Date





673 - 678


Cardiac Volume, Echocardiography, Heart Ventricles, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Models, Cardiovascular, Organ Size, Predictive Value of Tests, Reference Values, Reproducibility of Results