The role of ECG-gated MDCT in the evaluation of aortic and mitral mechanical valves: initial experience

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2008 Jul;191(1):26-31. doi: 10.2214/AJR.07.2951.


Objective: The objective of our study was to evaluate the role of ECG-gated MDCT in the functional evaluation of mechanical prosthetic aortic and mitral valves.

Materials and methods: Twenty sequential patients with 23 mechanical prosthetic valves were evaluated with an ECG-gated 40- or 64-MDCT scanner. Multiplanar reformation, maximal-intensity-projection, volume-rendering, and volume-averaging techniques were used for visualization of valve leaflets in systole and diastole. The visibility of each mechanical valve was evaluated by consensus of a radiologist and a cardiologist using a subjective 5-point scale (0-4). MDCT findings were correlated with fluoroscopic opening and closing angle measurements and echocardiographic pressure gradient measurements in 11 and 19 valves, respectively.

Results: The series included 18 bileaflet and five single-leaflet mechanical valves. The visibility score for the bileaflet mechanical valves was excellent (score of 4) in all 18 cases, but it was lower for single-leaflet valves (mean score, 2.8; range, 1-4) (p = 0.04). Bland-Altman plots showed high agreement between MDCT and fluoroscopy for measurements of opening and closing angles of bileaflet mechanical valves. In four patients, a stuck valve was seen on MDCT and was confirmed by fluoroscopy. Doppler echocardiography showed increased transvalvular pressure in two of the four patients with a stuck mitral valve and increased transaortic pressure in four patients with normal prosthetic aortic valve motion.

Conclusion: Our preliminary results suggest that MDCT is a promising technique for functional evaluation of bileaflet mechanical valves, allowing reliable measurements of opening and closing leaflet angles. However, the role of MDCT in the evaluation of single-leaflet valves might be limited.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aortic Valve / diagnostic imaging*
  • Electrocardiography / methods*
  • Equipment Failure Analysis / methods*
  • Female
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitral Valve / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / instrumentation
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*