Musculoskeletal pain in cardiac ultrasonographers: Results of a random survey

Annette C. Smith, James G. Wolf, Gong Yuan Xie, Mikel D. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Myalgias and arthralgias are common among workers whose jobs require repetitive isometric maneuvers or malalignment of body position. However, few systematic studies have been performed to evaluate the frequency of these complaints among cardiac ultrasonographers. Therefore the purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain (MSP) among ultrasonographers and to identify risk factors related to their occurrence. Two hundred twenty ultrasonographers randomly chosen from a list of more than 1600 active members of the American Society of Echocardiography were mailed surveys consisting of 22 questions. Included were questions regarding height, age, years of experience, frequency and type of physical exercise, and job-related parameters such as a number of scans per day, scanning from right or left side of bed, number of hours, bed type, type of equipment, and manual or self-propelled machines. Respondents were asked whether they had had back, neck, or shoulder pain related to their profession and to describe treatment rendered and its effectiveness. One hundred thirteen (51%) of 220 ultrasonographers responded to the survey. Ninety (80%) of 113 respondents reported new pain that was not present before they began scanning, with 42 of this group (46%) requiring either physiotherapy (n = 17) or medication (n = 23). Treatment was believed to be helpful in 63% of cases. Factors found to have a positive relationship to MSP included ultrasonographer height less than 63 inches, performing 100 or more scans per month, average scan time of 25 minutes or more per patient, and use of manually propelled machines (each p < 0.05). Factors found to have no relationship to MSP included age, type of equipment, right or left scan position, physical conditioning, bed type, and time between patients. Musculoskeletal pain is prevalent among cardiac ultrasonographers, and may have spe-cific work-related factors for its occurrence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-362
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Society of Echocardiography
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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