Reliability of Central Adiposity Assessments Using B-Mode Ultrasound: A Comparison of Linear and Curved Array Transducers

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Recently, it was reported that intra-abdominal thickness (IAT) assessments using ultrasound are most reliable if measured from the linea alba to the anterior vertebral column. These 2 anatomical sites can be simultaneously visualized using a linear array transducer. Linear array transducers have different operational characteristics when compared with conventional curved array transducers and are more reliable for some ultrasound-derived measures such as abdominal subcutaneous fat thickness. However, it is unknown whether linear array transducers facilitate more reliable IAT measurements than curved array transducers. The purpose of the current study was to (1) compare the reliability of linear and curved array transducer assessments of IAT and maximal abdominal ratio (MAR) and (2) use the findings to update central adiposity measurement guidelines. Fifteen healthy adults (mean [SD], 27 [10] years; 60% female) with a range of somatotypes (body mass index: mean [SD], 24 [4]; range, 19–33 kg/m2; waist circumference: mean [SD], 75 [11]; range, 61–96 cm) were tested on 3 mornings under standardized conditions. Intra-abdominal thickness was assessed 2 cm above the umbilicus (transverse plane), measuring from linea alba to the anterior vertebral column. Maximal abdominal ratio was defined as the ratio of IAT to abdominal subcutaneous fat thickness. The IAT range was 25 to 87 mm, and the MAR range was 0.15 to 0.77. Between-day intraclass correlation coefficient values for IAT measurements made were comparable (0.96–0.97) for both transducers, as were MAR values (0.95). In conclusion, while both transducers provided equally reliable measurement of IAT, the use of a single linear array transducer simplifies the assessment of central adiposity.

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