Few data exist regarding the relationship of valvular anatomy and coaptation to the presence of mitral regurgitation (MR) in patients with mitral valve prolapse (MVP). Therefore this study was undertaken to assess the ability of two-dimensional echocardiographic features of mitral valve morphology to predict the presence, direction, and magnitude of MR as assessed by color Doppler flow imaging. MR was present in 21 of 46 patients with MVP on two-dimensional echocardiography. Echocardiograms were specifically evaluated for leaflet apposition, leaflet morphology, and mitral anulus diameter. Color flow images were analyzed for presence of MR, direction of the regurgitant jet, and area encompassing the largest jet visible in any view. Abnormal mitral leaflet coaptation on two-dimensional echocardiography was strongly associated with the presence of MR (p = 0.003), being present in 15 of 21 patients with as compared with 5 of 25 patients without MR. Similarly, mitral leaflet thickness and MR were closely associated (p = 0.0035), with the latter being present in 9 of 30 patients with normal and 12 of 16 patients with excessive leaflet thickness. MR jet direction tended to be anterior to central with posterior leaflet prolapse and posterior or central with anterior leaflet prolapse (p = 0.02). Maximal jet area of MR tended to be larger in patients with compared with those without mitral annular dilatation (5.4 +/- 2.3 versus 2.1 +/- 1.9 cm2, p = 0.001), and in those with abnormal rather than normal leaflet thickness (4.5 +/- 2.7 versus 2.0 +/- 1.6 cm2, p = 0.009). Thus the presence, direction, and size of MR jets in MVP are related to structural abnormality of the mitral apparatus on echocardiography.
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