Objectives: Mitral regurgitation (MR) is a common echocardiographic finding; however, there is no simple accurate method for quantification. The aim of this study was to develop an easily measured screening variable for hemodynamically significant MR.
Background: The added regurgitant volume in MR increases the left atrial to left ventricular gradient, which then increases the peak mitral inflow or the peak E wave velocity. Our hypothesis was that peak E wave velocity and the E/A ratio increase in proportion to MR severity.
Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of 102 consecutive patients with varying grades of MR seen in the Adult Echocardiography Laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco. Peak E wave velocity, peak A wave velocity, E/A ratio and E wave deceleration time were measured in all patients. The reference standard for MR was qualitative echocardiographic evaluation by an expert and quantitation of regurgitant fraction using two-dimensional and Doppler echocardiography.
Results: Peak E wave velocity was seen to increase in proportion to MR severity, with a significant difference between the different groups (F = 37, p < 0.0001). Peak E wave velocity correlated with regurgitant fraction (r = 0.52, p < 0.001). Furthermore, an E wave velocity >1.2 m/s identified 24 of 27 patients with severe MR (sensitivity 86%, specificity 86%, positive predictive value 75%). An A wave dominant pattern excluded the presence of severe MR. The E/A ratio also increased in proportion to MR severity. Peak A wave velocity and E wave deceleration time showed no correlation with MR severity.
Conclusions: Peak E wave velocity is easy to obtain and is therefore widely applicable in clinical practice as a screening tool for evaluating MR severity.