We have noted that the impedance cardiographic waveform of patients with mitral regurgitation may show typical abnormalities not found in other forms of cardiac disease, either valvular or congenital. In order to investigate this we reviewed the impedance cardiograms of all our patients who had also undergone cardiac catheterisation, and selected two groups both of which were inclusive and complete: (1) 22 patients with the diagnosis of normal heart, and (2) 36 patients with the diagnosis of isolated mitral regurgitation. An index was calculated algebraically from the change of impedance (delta L) tracing by adding together the height of the C wave and the height of the nadir of the X descent and subtracting the height of the V wave, that is delta Z index (in units of ohms) = C + X - V. The mean delta Z index for the normal group was 1.64 and for the mitral regurgitation group 0.96 ohms. Similarly, an index was calculated from the first time derivative of the change of impedance (dZ/dt) tracing, that is dZ/dt index (in units of ohms/s) = C' + X' - V'. The mean dZ/dt index for the normal group was 1.32 and for the mitral regurgitation group 0.48 ohms/s. Though there was some overlap of individual points between the two groups, the mean values for both the delta Z index and the dZ/dt index separated the group with mitral regurgitation from the normal group with a high level of statistical significance. We concluded that mitral regurgitation might be associated with a characteristic abnormality of the impedance cardiographic waveform. In addition, an index can easily be calculated from the tracings which may be useful in identifying patients with mitral regurgitation.
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