OBJECTIVE--To assess the usefulness of pulsed Doppler echocardiography as a method of measuring the regurgitant fraction in patients with mitral regurgitation. PATIENTS AND METHODS--Twenty controls and 27 patients with isolated mitral regurgitation underwent Doppler studies. In the patients the study was performed within 48 hours of cardiac catheterisation. Aortic outflow was measured in the centre of the aortic annulus, and mitral inflow was derived from the flow velocity at the tip of the leaflets and the area of the elliptical mitral opening. The regurgitant fraction was calculated as the difference between the two flows divided by the mtiral inflow. RESULTS--In the 20 controls the two flows were almost identical (mitral inflow, 4.44 (SD 0.88) l/min; aortic outflow, 4.58 (SD 0.84) l/min), with a mean regurgitant fraction of 4.2 (SD 8.4)%. In patients with mitral regurgitation, the mitral inflow was significantly higher than the aortic outflow (8.8 (3.6) v 4.3 (1.1) l/min). In most patients the Doppler-derived regurgitant fraction (45.8 (19.2)%) accorded closely with the regurgitant fraction (41.3 (SD 17.8)%) determined by the haemodynamic technique. CONCLUSION--Pulsed Doppler echocardiography, with an instantaneous velocity-valve area method for calculating mitral inflow, reliably measured the severity of regurgitation in patients with mitral regurgitation.
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