We reviewed transthoracic (TTE) and transesophageal (TEE) echocardiograms of 100 consecutive patients: 63 male, 37 female, mean age 50 years (range 16-83 years), 32 with neoplastic disease, 18 aortic disease, 28 mitral valve disease, and 22 with other diseases. Absence or presence of mitral regurgitation (defined as mild, moderate, or severe) was assessed. TEE showed mild mitral regurgitation in 26 patients where TTE was negative. The overall estimate of regurgitant lesion severity was concordant at TEE and TTE in 64% of cases. The overall estimate of regurgitant lesion severity was also greater by one grade in 1% of cases at TTE, and in 35% of cases at TEE. Maximal digitized jet areas were 3.60 +/- 6.35 cm 2 at TTE and 3.04 +/- 3.79 cm 2 at TEE (P = NS). Correlation was r = 0.69 (TEE = 0.41 TTE + 1.55; P less than 0.001). TEE yielded a higher prevalence of mitral regurgitation than TTE with a trend toward greater overall estimate of mitral regurgitation at the semi-quantitative analysis. TTE and TEE showed similar mean results at the quantitative assessment of maximal jet areas. However, a highly significant random variability was observed in quantifying mitral regurgitation at TEE.