Burgeoning interest in reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) has led to experimental strategies to elucidate the disease process and attain pharmacologic regression using the apolipoprotein E−/− (ApoE−/−) mouse model of angiotensin-induced AAAs and in vivo sonography. However, the variability of in vivo sonographic measurements of the mouse aorta has not been established. Thus, our purpose was to determine quantitative estimates of the variability of in vivo sonographic measurements of the mouse aorta as a guide for the design and assessment of studies focused on regression of AAAs and related arterial diseases.
We used Bland-Altman, locally weighted scatterplot-smoothing regression, and resampling (bootstrapping) methods for variability analyses of multiple in vivo short- and long-axis sonographic measurements of ApoE−/− mouse aortas. We measured distinct aortic sites in vivo at the baseline and after angiotensin-induced AAAs and ex vivo using digital calipers.
We analyzed 236 data points from 10 male mice (14 weeks old; mean weight ± SD, 29.7 ± 1.6 g). Overall intramouse differences between short- and long-axis and in vivo and ex vivo measurements were 0.038 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.031–0.046) and 0.085 (95% CI, 0.062–0.109) mm, respectively. Intermouse differences in short-axis measurements were 0.047 (95% CI, 0.042–0.053), 0.049 (95% CI, 0.044–0.055), and 0.039 (95% CI, 0.036-0.042) mm for infrarenal, suprarenal, and thoracic measurements, respectively; differences in long-axis measurements were 0.054 (95% CI, 0.044–0.064), 0.029 (95% CI, 0.024–0.034), and 0.046 (95% CI, 0.037–0.054) mm. Bland-Altman and locally weighted scatterplot-smoothing analyses showed excellent agreement between measures with no variation in discrepancies vis-à-vis the target measurement.
These data establish previously undefined estimates of measurement variability relevant for in vivo sonographic studies of AAA regression in a commonly studied mouse model.