Occupational musculoskeletal pain in cardiac sonographers compared to peer employees: a multisite cross-sectional study

Nicholas M. Orme, Jeffrey B. Geske, Sorin V. Pislaru, John Wells Askew, Ryan J. Lennon, Bradley R. Lewis, Charanjit S. Rihal, Patricia A. Pellikka, Mandeep Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to compare the prevalence and impact of work-related musculoskeletal pain in cardiac sonographers to a large control group of peer employees with similar demographics. Background: Cardiac sonographers are known to have high levels of occupational musculoskeletal pain. Comparative studies with other employees within cardiology/radiology departments have never been performed. Methods: An electronic survey was administered to Mayo Clinic employees at six major patient care facilities in four different states. Results: There were 2682 employees within the departments of cardiology and radiology who were contacted, and 1532 (57%) completed the survey. After excluding those who wore protective lead aprons, 517 employees comprised the control group and 66 cardiac sonographers made up the study group. Cardiac sonographers reported work-related musculoskeletal pain more frequently than the control group (88% vs 40%; P<.001). This association persisted after multivariable adjustment for age, sex, body mass index, length of current employment, and history of preexisting musculoskeletal pain (OR 11.6; [95% CI 5.32, 25.5]; P<.001). Cardiac sonographers sought medical care for their work-related pain more often (55% vs 21%; P<.001) and missed more work due to pain (35% vs 12%, P<.001). In a secondary analysis, cardiac sonographers also experienced more work-related musculoskeletal pain than nurses, technicians, and physicians working in the interventional laboratory who regularly wear a protective lead apron (P<.001). Conclusions: In this multisite cross-sectional study, cardiac sonographers experienced significantly more work-related pain and missed more work due to pain than peer employees within cardiology/radiology departments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1642-1647
Number of pages6
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • cardiac sonographer
  • echocardiography
  • musculoskeletal pain
  • occupational hazard

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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