Echocardiographic assessment of functional mitral regurgitation: opening Pandora's box?

ESC Heart Fail. 2019 Aug;6(4):678-685. doi: 10.1002/ehf2.12491. Epub 2019 Jul 25.


Two recent trials of transcatheter mitral-valve repair in patients with functional mitral regurgitation (FMR) presented opposing results for the MitraClip® compared to medical therapy alone. The conflicting results gave rise to intensive discussions about assessment of mitral valve regurgitation (MR). A recent editorial viewpoint provided a potential explanation presenting a new pathophysiologic concept. However, the echocardiographic characterization of both trials' patients is inconsistent and the discussed concepts appear to suffer from plausibility weaknesses. It is well conceivable that limitations in the echocardiographic assessment of the trial patients introduced a bias regarding the selection of patients with severe (or less severe) MR that may be a more plausible explanation for the differences in outcome. We here illustrate our viewpoint regarding the two MitraClip trials and also illustrate the difficulties in assessing functional MR properly. It may indeed be "opening Pandora's box", but we will also make an attempt to provide a solution.

MeSH terms

  • Echocardiography*
  • Humans
  • Mitral Valve Insufficiency / classification
  • Mitral Valve Insufficiency / diagnostic imaging*
  • Mitral Valve Insufficiency / physiopathology*