Cardiovascular magnetic resonance characterization of mitral valve prolapse

JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2008 May;1(3):294-303. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmg.2008.01.013.


Objectives: This study sought to develop cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) diagnostic criteria for mitral valve prolapse (MVP) using echocardiography as the gold standard and to characterize MVP using cine CMR and late gadolinium enhancement (LGE)-CMR.

Background: Mitral valve prolapse is a common valvular heart disease with significant complications. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance is a valuable imaging tool for assessing ventricular function, quantifying regurgitant lesions, and identifying fibrosis, but its potential role in evaluating MVP has not been defined.

Methods: To develop CMR diagnostic criteria for MVP, characterize mitral valve morphology, we analyzed transthoracic echocardiography and cine CMR images from 25 MVP patients and 25 control subjects. Leaflet thickness, length, mitral annular diameters, and prolapsed distance were measured. Two- and three-dimensional LGE-CMR images were obtained in 16 MVP and 10 control patients to identify myocardial regions of fibrosis in MVP.

Results: We found that a 2-mm threshold for leaflet excursion into the left atrium in the left ventricular outflow tract long-axis view yielded 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity for CMR using transthoracic echocardiography as the clinical gold standard. Compared with control subjects, CMR identified MVP patients as having thicker (3.2 +/- 0.1 mm vs. 2.3 +/- 0.1 mm) and longer (10.5 +/- 0.5 mm/m(2) vs. 7.1 +/- 0.3 mm/m(2)) indexed posterior leaflets and larger indexed mitral annular diameters (27.8 +/- 0.7 mm/m(2) vs. 21.5 +/- 0.5 mm/m(2) for long axis and 22.9 +/-0.7 mm/m(2) vs. 17.8 +/- 0.6 mm/m(2) for short axis). In addition, we identified focal regions of LGE in the papillary muscles suggestive of fibrosis in 10 (63%) of 16 MVP patients and in 0 of 10 control subjects. Papillary muscle LGE was associated with the presence of complex ventricular arrhythmias in MVP patients.

Conclusions: Cardiovascular magnetic resonance image can identify MVP by the same echocardiographic criteria and can identify myocardial fibrosis involving the papillary muscle in MVP patients. Hyperenhancement of papillary muscles on LGE is often present in a subgroup of patients with complex ventricular arrhythmias.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / etiology
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / pathology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Contrast Media
  • Echocardiography, Doppler
  • Fibrosis
  • Gadolinium DTPA
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine*
  • Mitral Valve / diagnostic imaging
  • Mitral Valve / pathology*
  • Mitral Valve Prolapse / complications
  • Mitral Valve Prolapse / diagnostic imaging
  • Mitral Valve Prolapse / pathology*
  • Papillary Muscles / pathology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium DTPA