Increased body mass index is associated with decreased imaging quality of point-of-care abdominal aortic ultrasonography

Archana K. Jeeji, Samuel F. Ekstein, Oluwatomilona I. Ifelayo, Kafayat A. Oyemade, Sarah S. Tawfic, Robert J. Hyde, Michael J. Laughlin, Christine M. Lohse, Aidan F. Mullan, Tobias Kummer, Venkatesh R. Bellamkonda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Given that abdominal aorta is a retroperitoneal structure, increased body mass index (BMI) may have an adverse effect upon the quality of aortic ultrasonographic imaging. Purpose: To assess the hypothesis that increased BMI is associated with worsening point-of-care abdominal aortic ultrasonographic image quality. Methods: This is a retrospective single-center study of point-of-care abdominal aortic ultrasound examinations performed in an academic emergency department (ED) with fellowship-trained emergency ultrasonography faculty performing quality assurance review. Results: Mean ± SD BMI was 27.4 ± 6.2, among the 221 included records. The overall quality rating decreased as BMI increased (correlation coefficient − 0.24; P <.001) and this persisted after adjustment for age and sex (P <.001). Although BMI was higher on average in the records that were of insufficient quality for clinical decisions when compared with those of sufficient quality (mean BMI 28.7 vs 27.0), this did not reach statistical significance in a univariable setting (P =.11) or after adjusting for age and sex (P =.14). Conclusion: This study data shows a decrease in point-of-care abdominal aorta ultrasound imaging quality as BMI increases, though this difference did not result in a statistically significant impairment in achieving the minimum quality for clinical decisions. This finding may help ameliorate some clinician concerns about ultrasonography for patients with high BMI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-333
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Ultrasound
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2021


  • bmi
  • department
  • emergency
  • image quality
  • quality
  • ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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