The mechanism of decrease in dynamic mitral regurgitation during heart failure treatment: Importance of reduction in the regurgitant orifice size

Luis B. Rosario, Lynne W. Stevenson, Scott D. Solomon, Richard T. Lee, Sharon C. Reimold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Objectives. The purpose of this study was to quantify and characterize the regurgitant flow pattern and regurgitant orifice area in patients undergoing therapy for severe heart failure using contemporary echocardiographic techniques. Background. Mitral regurgitation may be dynamic in patients with heart failure and ultimately correlate with outcome in a group of patients. Methods. Fourteen patients with severe heart failure felt to require hemodynamic monitoring for the optimization of medical therapy were enrolled. Two-dimensional and Doppler echocardiograms were performed before and following invasively guided therapy. Hemodynamics and standard echocardiographic dimensions were determined as well as regurgitant volume and regurgitant orifice area derived from color M-mode and Doppler measurements. Results. Invasively guided therapy for heart failure was associated with a reduction in weight, filling pressures of the left and right heart, systemic vascular resistance, and echocardiographic left atrial, left ventricular and mitral annular dimensions. The mitral regurgitant volume decreased from 47 ± 27 ml before therapy to 14 ± 14 ml after therapy; p < 0.001. While therapy for heart failure markedly attenuated the volume of regurgitation, the pattern of regurgitant flow across the mitral valve was not significantly altered. In contrast, there was no difference in the velocity time integral of the continuous-wave Doppler spectra of mitral regurgitation with therapy (128 ± 23 cm to 123 ± 25 cm, p = 0.23). In all patients, the regurgitant orifice area decreased with therapy from 0.55 ± 0.38 cm2 to 0.21 ± 0.20 cm2 (p < 0.001). Conclusions. Pharmacologic reduction in filling pressure and systemic vascular resistance leads to a reduction in the dynamic mitral regurgitation of heart failure through a reduction in the regurgitant orifice area but not through a change in the gradient across the mitral valve. Reduction of the regurgitant orifice area is likely related to decreased left ventricular volumes and decreased annular distention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1819-1824
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Dec 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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