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Transesophageal echocardiography as predictor of mitral valve repair.

BACKGROUND AND AIM OF THE STUDY: Mitral valve repair has recently emerged as the treatment of choice in patients presenting with insufficiency due to valve prolapse. The study aims were to evaluate: (i) the clinical presentation in a consecutive series of patients with mitral valve prolapse undergoing surgical repair; (ii) the correlation between pre- and intraoperative echocardiographic features and surgical findings in these patients; and (iii) whether clinical and echocardiographic data may predict surgical outcome.

METHODS: Between March 1997 and May 2000, 152 patients (110 men, 42 women; mean age 59+/-13 years) were recruited into the study. All patients had myxomatous mitral valve disease causing severe regurgitation and underwent systematic examination by transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) for clear delineation of the three scallops of the posterior leaflet and juxtaposed segments of the anterior leaflet.

RESULTS: In 119 patients (78%) a flail valve was documented by TEE and confirmed on surgical inspection; an anterior leaflet chordal rupture was not visualized by TEE in one case. In 15 cases (10%) there was flail of the anterior leaflet, and in 105 cases (69%) flail of the posterior leaflet. A bileaflet complex prolapse without chordal rupture was found in 32 cases. On the basis of TEE evaluation, mitral valve replacement was performed electively in 10 patients (7%); the other 142 (93%) underwent mitral valve repair. Adequate repair was obtained in 93% of cases; residual mitral regurgitation (eight cases; grade 3+) and mitral stenosis (one case) were documented by intraoperative TEE, and nine patients (6%) underwent valve replacement.

CONCLUSION: The majority of patients with myxomatous mitral valve prolapse and severe regurgitation undergoing valve repair have chordal rupture of the posterior mitral leaflet, a condition in which results of valve repair are excellent. TEE provides a powerful means to define the mechanisms of mitral regurgitation and to identify the suitability of patients for valvuloplasty.

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