Objectives. The feasibility of velocity-encoded cine nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging to measure regurgitant volume and regurgitant fraction in patients with mitral regurgitation was evaluated. Background. Velocity-encoded cine NMR imaging has been reported to provide accurate measurement of the volume of blood flow in the ascending aorta and through the mitral annulus. Therefore, we hypothesized that the difference between mitral inflow and aortic systolic flow provides the regurgitant volume in the setting of mitral regurgitation. Methods. Using velocity-encoded cine NMR imaging at a magnet field strength of 1.5 T and color Doppler echocardiography, 19 patients with isolated mitral regurgitation and 10 normal subjects were studied. Velocity-encoded cine NMR images were acquired in the short-axis plane of the ascending aorta and from the short-axis plane of the left ventricle at the level of the mitral annulus. Two independent observers measured the ascending aortic flow volume and left ventricular inflow volume to calculate the regurgitant volume as the difference between left ventricular inflow volume and aortic flow volume, and the regurgitant fraction was calculated. Using accepted criteria of color flow Doppler imaging and spectral analysis, the severity of mitral regurgitation was qualitatively graded as mild, moderate or severe and compared with regurgitant volume and regurgitant fraction, as determined by velocity-encoded cine NMR imaging. Results. In normal subjects tike regurgitant volume was ∂ ± 345 ml/min (mean ± SD). In patients with mild, moderate and severe mitral regurgitation, the regurgitant volume was 156 ± 203, 1,384 ± 437 and 4,763 ± 2,449 ml/min, respectively. In normal subjects the regurgitant fraction was 0.7 ± 6.1%. In patients with mild, moderate and severe mitral regurgitation, the regurgitant fraction was 3.1 ± 3.4%, 24.5 ± 8.9% and 48.6 ± 7.6%, respectively. The regurgitant fraction correlated well with the echocardiographic severity of mitral regurgitation (r = 0.87). Interobserver reproducibilities for regurgitant volume and regurgitant fraction were excellent (r = 0.99, SEE = 238 ml; r = 0.98, SEE = 4.1%, respectively). Conclusions. These findings suggest that velocity-encoded NMR imaging can be used to estimate regurgitant volume and regurgitant fraction in patients with mitral regurgitation and can discriminate patients with moderate or severe mitral regurgitation from normal subjects and patients with mild regurgitation. It may be useful for monitoring the effect of therapy intended to reduce the severity of mitral regurgitation.
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