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Progression of mitral regurgitation: a prospective Doppler echocardiographic study.

OBJECTIVES: This study was performed to define the rates and determinants of progression of organic mitral regurgitation (MR).

BACKGROUND: Severe MR has major clinical consequences, but the rates and determinants of progression of the degree of regurgitation are unknown. Quantitative Doppler echocardiographic methods allow the quantitation of regurgitant volume (RVol), regurgitant fraction (RF) and effective regurgitant orifice (ERO) to define progression of MR.

METHODS: In a prospective study of MR progression, 74 patients had two quantitative Doppler echocardiographic examinations of MR (with at least two methods) 561 +/- 423 days apart without an intervening event.

RESULTS: Progression of MR was observed, with increase in RVol (77 +/- 46 ml vs. 65 +/- 40 ml, p < 0.0001), RF (47 +/- 16% vs. 43% +/- 15%, p < 0.0001), and ERO (50 +/- 35 mm2 vs. 41 +/- 28 mm2, p < 0.0001). Annual rates (95% confidence interval) were, respectively, 7.4 ml/year (5.1, 9.7), 2.9%/year (1.9, 3.9) and 5.9 mm2/year (3.9, 7.8). However, wide individual variation was observed, and regression and progression of RVol >8 ml was found in 11% and 51%, respectively. In multivariate analysis, independent predictors of progression of RVol were progression of the lesions, particularly a new flail leaflet (p = 0.0003), and progression of mitral annulus diameter (p = 0.0001). Regression of MR was associated with marked changes in afterload, particularly decreased blood pressure (p = 0.008). No significant effect of treatment was detected.

CONCLUSIONS: Organic MR tends to progress over time with increase in volume overload (RVol) due to increase in ERO. Progression of MR is variable and determined by progression of lesions or mitral annulus size. These data should help plan follow up of patients with organic MR and future intervention trials.

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