Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

Methods of radiographic measurements of heart and left atrial size in dogs with and without myxomatous mitral valve disease : intra- and interobserver agreement and practicability of different methods

Dogs suffering from Myxomatous Mitral Valve Disease (MMVD) show a potential heart enlargement, especially in the left atrium, detectable by radiography. Due to digital radiography, different radiographic measurements estimate cardiac size quite uncomplicatedly. The Vertebral Heart Size (VHS), Radiographic Left Atrial Dimension (RLAD), Left Atrial Width (LAWidth), and the Vertebral Left Atrial Size (VLAS) used anatomical landmarks for measuring cardiac size in relation to the vertebral column. This study aimed to compare VHS, RLAD, LAWidth, and VLAS measured in conventional and inverted radiographs by veterinarians with different levels of experience in healthy dogs and dogs with MMVD. The reliability and user-friendliness of these measurements were evaluated, and the staging was compared to the echocardiography staging. A total of 50 unaffected dogs and 150 dogs with MMVD in stages B1, B2, and C were assessed. Three veterinarians with different levels of experience examined 200 conventional radiographs and their corresponding inverted radiographs blinded to the echocardiographic and clinical examination results. Analyses were performed to compare the measurements' grading and determine anatomical landmarks with measurement difficulties. Additionally, inter- and intraobserver agreement was assessed using intraclass correlation coefficient, and the agreement between radiographic and echocardiographic staging was compared using the kappa coefficient. The VHS, LAWidth, and VLAS were easier to define than the RLAD. The interobserver agreement was almost perfect for VHS (0.962) and good for the other radiographic measurements (RLAD: 0.778, LAWidth: 0.772, VLAS: 0.858). The VHS assigned the most dogs to the correct stage. However, VHS, RLAD, LAWidth, and VLAS presented an almost perfect intraobserver agreement. The dorsal left atrial margin of the RLAD was the most difficult measurement point to identify. The VHS is the most reproducible radiographic method for measuring the canine heart size and shows the highest agreement with echocardiography. An observer-related influence could be detected for RLAD, LAWidth, and VLAS.

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