Angus Fung – Using the world’s largest Echo database to establish normal ranges for cardiac output.


Cardiac output (CO) is used as a measure for detecting cardiovascular disease in patients. CO is a measurement of the volume of blood the heart pumps in one minute.

Every tissue in the body relies on the heart pumping blood for nourishment, as a result, any cardiovascular dysfunction has the potential to result in disease, adverse medical conditions or death. In addition, many medical conditions can alter cardiac output. It is therefore essential that there is an accurate assessment and optimisation of a patient’s cardiac output to ensure they get the best care, healthy outcomes and to minimise the risk of death.

Currently the measure of cardiac output is indexed to a person’s body surface area. Generally speaking, a larger person may require a large cardiac output to meet their physiological demands, while a smaller person may have a lower cardiac output. Unfortunately, this relationship with body size is poorly understood and can present problems if a patient’s body size is at the extreme ends of the range, for example if they are underweight or obese.

The main issue with this measurement is that there are currently no definitive guidelines about how CO cut-off points should be indexed for body size, and normal ranges have yet to be verified by research.

Angus Fung’s research aims to evaluate and compare existing body size metrics to establish a definitive metric for the indexation of cardiac output, heart rate and stroke volumes, and empirically determining a cut-off value for these measures. In order to do this, Angus is using the National Echo Database Australia (NEDA).

This database is the largest of its type in the world with over 500,000 consenting patients’ echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) results, collected from participating hospitals throughout Australia. By reviewing echocardiology results, Angus Fung and his team will compare underweight, normal weight and obese patients, to try to determine a normal range for cardiac output values and the cut-off point associated with increased death rates. They will also provide recommendations on how this indexation should be conducted, which has major clinical implications in the monitoring and treatment of cardiac patients.


To read more about the research Heart Research Australia is funding click here.



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