Aortic regurgitation (AR) may result in overestimation of the aortic pressure gradient by continuous wave Doppler in patients with mixed aortic valve disease. However, few data are available regarding the effect of AR on noninvasive estimates of aortic valve area by the continuity equation. Therefore, 25 patients with angiographically documented severe AR and peak systolic aortic velocities of greater than 2.5 m/s were studied by continuous wave Doppler to determine the accuracy of pressure gradient and aortic valve area calculations in assessing the severity of aortic stenosis (AS) in this patient population. Peak instantaneous pressure gradient showed a general correlation to but was overestimated by Doppler (r = 0.78, Doppler = 0.70 catheter + 19.9) and did not predict aortic valve area. Mean pressure gradient by Doppler correlated more closely with catheter mean gradient (r = 0.86, Doppler = 0.79 catheter + 6.1) but was a poor predictor of the severity of AS. In contrast, the continuity equation accurately predicted the aortic valve area by catheterization (r = 0.92, Doppler = 0.89 catheter -0.08). Thus, the continuity equation provides a reliable estimate of aortic valve area in patients with severe AR and should be used to evaluate the extent of AS in such patients when high systolic aortic velocities are present.