Diagnostic value of vena contracta area in the quantification of mitral regurgitation severity by color Doppler 3D echocardiography

Xin Zeng, Robert A Levine, Lanqi Hua, Eleanor L Morris, Yuejian Kang, Mary Flaherty, Nina V Morgan, Judy Hung
Circulation. Cardiovascular Imaging 2011, 4 (5): 506-13

BACKGROUND: Accurate quantification of mitral regurgitation (MR) is important for patient treatment and prognosis. Three-dimensional echocardiography allows for the direct measure of the regurgitant orifice area (ROA) by 3D-guided planimetry of the vena contracta area (VCA). We aimed to (1) establish 3D VCA ranges and cutoff values for MR grading, using the American Society of Echocardiography-recommended 2D integrative method as a reference, and (2) compare 2D and 3D methods of ROA to establish a common calibration for MR grading.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Eighty-three patients with at least mild MR underwent 2D and 3D echocardiography. Direct planimetry of VCA was performed by 3D echocardiography. Two-dimensional quantification of MR included 2D ROA by proximal isovelocity surface area (PISA) method, vena contracta width, and ratio of jet area to left atrial area. There were significant differences in 3D VCA among patients with different MR grades. As assessed by receiver operating characteristic analysis, 3D VCA at a best cutoff value of 0.41 cm(2) yielded 97% of sensitivity and 82% of specificity to differentiate moderate from severe MR. There was significant difference between 2D ROA and 3D VCA in patients with functional MR, resulting in an underestimation of ROA by 2D PISA method by 27% as compared with 3D VCA. Multivariable regression analysis showed functional MR as etiology was the only predictor of underestimation of ROA by the 2D PISA method.

CONCLUSIONS: Three-dimensional VCA provides a single, directly visualized, and reliable measurement of ROA, which classifies MR severity comparable to current clinical practice using the American Society of Echocardiography-recommended 2D integrative method. The 3D VCA method improves accuracy of MR grading compared with the 2D PISA method by eliminating geometric and flow assumptions, allowing for uniform clinical grading cutoffs and ranges that apply regardless of etiology and orifice shape.

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