Pulmonary venous flow velocity patterns in 143 normal subjects aged 20 to 80 years old. An echo 2D colour Doppler cooperative study

Eur Heart J. 1997 Jan;18(1):148-64. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.eurheartj.a015097.


In order to find out the normal values and to evaluate the effects of age, heart rate, sex, and haemodynamic and standard echocardiographic parameters on pulmonary venous flow velocity obtained by the transthoracic approach. Doppler pulmonary venous flow parameters were measured in 143 healthy subjects aged from 20 to 80 years. Doppler pulmonary venous flow parameters which had the best correlation with age were: the peak velocity of the systolic wave (r = 0.39) and its integral (r = 0.5), the peak velocity of the diastolic wave (r = -0.6) and its integral (r = -0.44); the systolic (r = 0.68) and diastolic fractions (r = -0.68); the systolic/diastolic peak velocity ratio (r = 0.73) and the systolic/diastolic integral ratio (r = 0.7). The atrial reversal wave did not correlate with age; the atrial reversal wave was more difficult and probably less reliable to measure than the systolic and diastolic waves. The correlations of pulmonary venous flow parameters with mitral flow parameters were also examined. This study showed that, in healthy subjects, despite an increase in the early and atrial waves from the annulus to the tips of the mitral leaflets, there is a similar association between pulmonary venous flow and mitral flow measured at the annulus or at the tips of the mitral leaflets. The intra-observer reproducibility of all the pulmonary venous flow parameters considered were found to be excellent. Moderate inter-observer variability was observed for the systolic, diastolic and atrial reversal wave peak velocities and integrals; however, the systolic/diastolic ratio improved the precision of the measurements. Multivariate analysis showed that age is the principal determinant of the Doppler parameters of pulmonary venous flow: heart rate, sex, body surface area, the size of the left atrium in systole and the left ventricular ejection fraction all influence the Doppler parameters of pulmonary venous flow, even if only slightly.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology
  • Echocardiography, Doppler, Color*
  • Female
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lung / blood supply
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Veins / diagnostic imaging*
  • Reference Values