Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess exercise-induced changes in stroke volume and their main determinants in mitral stenosis.
Background: The mechanisms of the stroke volume response to exercise in mitral stenosis are not clearly established.
Methods: Twenty-seven patients with mitral stenosis, aged 47 +/- 13 years, and 10 healthy control subjects, aged 46 +/- 11 years, were examined by Doppler echocardiography to obtain stroke volume, mitral velocity-time integral and calculated mitral valve area (by continuity equation) at rest and during submaximal supine bicycle exercise. Measured mitral valve area at rest and total mitral score were also obtained.
Results: During exercise, stroke volume increased significantly (p < 0.001) in the control subjects (+25 +/- 6%) but remained unchanged in the patients. In 10 patients (Group I), stroke volume increased by > or = 14% (+23 +/- 10%, p < 0.001); in the other 17 (Group II), it decreased or increased by < 14% (-5 +/- 14%, p = NS). Mitral velocity-time integral did not change in the three groups, whereas calculated mitral valve area increased significantly (p < 0.001) and similarly in Group I and the control group but remained unchanged in Group II. The exercise change in calculated mitral valve area correlated significantly with both measured mitral valve area at rest (r = 0.46, p < 0.05) and total mitral score (r - 0.53, p < 0.005). However, at constant mitral score, exercise change in calculated mitral valve area no longer correlated significantly with measured mitral valve area at rest.
Conclusions: In mitral stenosis, the change in stroke volume during exercise depends on the change in mitral valve area, which itself depends on the degree of mitral valve damage.