Intermittent mitral regurgitation in Cavalier King Charles spaniels: Short-term progression and influence of stress tests

M J Reimann, J E Møller, J Häggström, L L B Åkerström, T Martinussen, L H Olsen
Veterinary Journal 2020, 258: 105457
In young Cavalier King Charles spaniels (CKCS), intermittent mitral regurgitation (iMR; defined as moderate to severe mitral regurgitation [MR] in a small proportion of heartbeats), has been associated with an increased risk of cardiac death due to myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD). It is associated with increased R-R interval variability. Little is known about response to physiological factors and whether iMR is a precursor for developing significant MR. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of stress testing on the presence of iMR and heart rate, and short-term (1-2 year) progression of MR in CKCS with and without iMR. In total, 52 CKCS were included. Substudy 1 enrolled six dogs with iMR and 11 dogs without iMR. Substudy 2 enrolled 14 dogs with iMR and 28 dogs without iMR. Substudy 1 prospectively assessed the influence of stress testing on the presence of iMR and heart rate. Substudy 2 retrospectively evaluated short-term progression of iMR. During stress testing, iMR disappeared in 50% of CKCS and no iMR was recorded at mean heart rates >150 beats/min. Heart rate response did not differ between CKCS with or without iMR. CKCS with iMR did not have a higher odds (odds ratio = 5.2; 95% confidence interval, 0.7-38.2) of MR progression compared to controls (P = 0.1). In conclusion, physical stress influenced the occurrence of iMR in CKCS, but heart rate response was not different from CKCS without iMR. Intermittent mitral regurgitation did not significantly predict short-term MR progression. In stressed CKCS with early disease, iMR may be overlooked.

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