Variability in B-mode ultrasound measurements in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study

Lloyd E. Chambless, Ming M. Zhong, Donna Arnett, Aaron R. Folsom, Ward A. Riley, Gerardo Heiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study is n multicenter, long-term epidemiologic study that uses B-mode ultrasound primarily to measure carotid arterial intima-media wall thickness. To assess the reliability of the measurement process of this application of B-mode technology to population-based research, 36 volunteers from four centers were scanned at three visits, 7-14 days apart. Estimates of the components of variation in the B-mode measurements of artery wall thickness from between- person, between-sonographer, within-sonographer, between-reader and within- reader variation are presented, along with estimates of the correlation R between measures made at repeat visits by different sonographers and read by different readers. The estimates of R for mean intima-media thickness are 0.69, 0.60, 0.54 and 0.66 for the carotid bifurcation, internal carotid, common carotid, and three-segment overall carotid mean, respectively. When these are adjusted to account for differences in between-person variance between the ancillary study and the main ARIC study, the estimated site- specific reliability coefficients appropriate to the ARIC study population are 0.77, 0.73 and 0.70 for mean carotid far-wall intima-media thickness at the carotid bifurcation and the internal and common carotid arteries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-554
Number of pages10
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1996


  • B-mode ultrasound
  • Measurement variation
  • Quantitative imaging
  • Reliability
  • Repeatability
  • Variance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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