Aortic valve morphology: an important in vitro determinant of proximal regurgitant jet width by Doppler color flow mapping

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1990 Aug;16(2):405-12. doi: 10.1016/0735-1097(90)90593-e.


In vitro and in vivo studies suggest that proximal aortic regurgitant jet width on Doppler color flow mapping predicts severity of aortic regurgitation. The influence of aortic valve morphology on proximal regurgitant jet width has not been studied. Despite equal cross-sectional area, differences in aortic valve morphology may influence regurgitant jet width and thus estimates of severity of aortic regurgitation. Aortic valve simulations representing degenerative, rheumatic and bicuspid valves as well as a circle in two cross-sectional areas (0.2 cm2 and 0.7 cm2) were placed in a flow model using two gradients (50 and 100 mm Hg) to produce simulated aortic regurgitant jets. Flow maps were obtained from parasternal and apical positions with color gain, frames per second, low velocity reject and depth held constant. The mean of three regurgitant jet widths for each shape, size and gradient were compared by three factor analysis of variance. Aortic valve morphology significantly affected regurgitant jet width in both parasternal and apical views (p = 0.0001 by analysis of variance) with bicuspid shapes producing regurgitant jet widths significantly different from all other shapes. Valve area also consistently significantly influenced proximal regurgitant jet width (p = 0.0001) in both views. Initial pressure gradient was less important. It is concluded that in an in vitro flow model aortic valve morphology introduces significant variability in the measurement of proximal regurgitant jet widths independent of orifice cross-sectional area. Estimates of severity of aortic regurgitation may therefore be influenced considerably by aortic valve morphology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Aortic Valve / pathology*
  • Aortic Valve / physiopathology
  • Aortic Valve Insufficiency / pathology
  • Aortic Valve Insufficiency / physiopathology*
  • Echocardiography, Doppler / methods*
  • Humans
  • Models, Cardiovascular*
  • Regional Blood Flow