Echocardiography plays a critical role in the assessment of cardiac disease. Important differences in echocardiographically
derived cardiac chamber dimensions have been previously highlighted in different population groups in adult studies, but this
has not been systematically studied in children, whose body size changes throughout childhood. The aim of this study was
to review the distribution of available reference ranges for the left cardiac chamber dimensions in older children and adolescents.
The following electronic data bases were searched: Medline, Embase and Web of Science were searched to identify
studies which have established echocardiographic reference ranges of left heart parameters in children and adolescents from
1975 to December 2017. There was no geographical limitation. All results were imported into Endnote. Retrieved articles
were screened and data extracted by two independent reviewers. A total of 4398 studies were retrieved, with 36 studies
finally included in this review. 29 (81%) references were from North America and European (Caucasians) populations, with
only one study each from Africa and South America. Two-dimensional and M-mode techniques were the most commonly
used echocardiography techniques. There were methodological variations in techniques and normalisation of references.
Comparison of selected cardiac measures showed significant differences for interventricular septal thickness among Black
African, Indian, German and US American children. Available echocardiographic references cannot be generalised to all
settings and therefore, there is need for locally relevant reference ranges. Africa and South America are particularly underrepresented.
Future studies should focus on developing comprehensive echocardiographic reference ranges for children from
different racial backgrounds and should use standardised techniques.