The correlation between 19 echocardiographic markers of tricuspid regurgitation (TR) severity and findings on physical examination was studied in 66 consecutive patients (age 63 +/- 12 years) with moderate or severe TR. Clinical TR was defined by two or more of the following: prominent jugular venous pulse V waves, pulsating liver, and sea-saw parasternal movement. Thirty-eight patients (57.6%) had clinical TR, whereas 28 patients (42.4%) did not. In a univariate analysis, the most powerful predictors of clinical TR (p < 0.01) were jet area > or =9 cm2, right atrial area > or =30 cm2, jet width at origin > or =0.8 cm, systolic flow reversal in the hepatic veins, paradoxical septal movement, diastolic septal flattening, inferior vena cava diameter > or =2.1 cm, and lack of inferior vena cava respiratory variation. Regurgitant index was a weaker predictor. Multivariate analysis showed that the only independent echocardiographic predictor of clinical TR was systolic flow reversal (positive and negative predictive values 91.2% and 78.1%, respectively). Significant echocardiographic TR can be subclinical in a substantial number of patients.