Background: The treatment of patients with aortic regurgitation (AR) or mitral regurgitation (MR) relies on the accurate assessment of the severity of the regurgitation as well as its effect on left ventricular (LV) size and function. Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CMR) is an excellent tool for quantifying regurgitant volumes as well as LV size and function. The 2008 AHA/ACC management guidelines for the therapy of patients with AR or MR only describe LV size in terms of linear dimensions (i.e. end-diastolic and end-systolic dimension). LV volumes that correspond to these linear dimensions have not been published in the peer-reviewed literature. The purpose of this study is to determine the effect of regurgitant volume on LV volumes and chamber dimensions in patients with isolated AR or MR and preserved LV function.
Methods: Regurgitant volume, LV volume, mass, linear dimensions, and ejection fraction, were determined in 34 consecutive patients with isolated AR and 23 consecutive patients with MR and no other known cardiac disease.
Results: There is a strong, linear relationship between regurgitant volume and LV end-diastolic volume index (aortic regurgitation r2 = 0.8, mitral regurgitation r2 = 0.8). Bland-Altman analysis of regurgitant volume shows little interobserver variation (AR: 0.6 +/- 4 ml; MR 4 +/- 6 ml). The correlation is much poorer between regurgitant volume and commonly used clinical linear measures such as end-systolic dimension (mitral regurgitation r2 = 0.3, aortic regurgitation r2 = 0.5). For a given regurgitant volume, AR causes greater LV enlargement and hypertrophy than MR.
Conclusion: CMR is an accurate and robust technique for quantifying regurgitant volume in patients with AR or MR. Ventricular volumes show a stronger correlation with regurgitant volume than linear dimensions, suggesting LV volumes better reflect ventricular remodeling in patients with isolated mitral or aortic regurgitation. Ventricular volumes that correspond to published recommended linear dimensions are determined to guide the timing of surgical intervention.