Alexander M. Safian, Giulio Menciotti, Sunshine M. Lahmers, Hyeon Jeong, Alessandra Franchini, and Michele Borgarelli have published "Performance of Different Echocardiographic Measurements of Left Atrial Size in Dogs by Observers with Different Levels of Experience" in a special issue of Animals: Diagnostic Imaging of Cardiovascular Disease in Small Animals.

Assessing enlargement of the left atrium (one of the four cardiac chambers) is extremely important for gaining information about dogs’ heart disease, their prognosis, and directing treatment. However, people with different levels of experience may be required to make this assessment, and how observers with different experiences perform in making this assessment is unknown. In this study, five observers with different levels of experience evaluated the left atrium of 36 dogs in a blinded fashion (i.e., unaware of each other's measurements or of the identity of the dog), compared to two cardiologists. Statistical analysis was then used to evaluate repeatability, reproducibility, accuracy of the measurements, and the capacity of correctly identifying left atrial enlargement. It was discoverd that the measurements performed by observers with more experience where more similar to the cardiologists’ measurements, and that combining more than one technique for measuring the left atrium can improve accuracy of the identification of left atrial enlargement.

Safian is a fourth-year student in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program, Menciotti is an assistant professor of cardiology, Lahmers is an associate professor of cardiology, Jeong is a cardiology resident, Franchini is a Ph.D. candidate in small animal medicine and surgery, and Borgarelli, who directs the Comparative Cardiovascular Laboratory, is a professor of cardiology in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences.