Secondary mitral regurgitation (MR) is associated with poor outcomes, but its correction does not reverse the underlying left ventricular (LV) pathology or improve the prognosis. The recently published American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines on valvular heart disease generated considerable controversy by revising the definition of severe secondary MR from an effective regurgitant orifice area (EROA) of 0.4 to 0.2 cm2, and from a regurgitant volume (RVol) of 60 to 30 ml. This paper reviews hydrodynamic determinants of MR severity, showing that EROA and RVol values associated with severe MR depend on LV volume. This explains disparities in the evidence associating a lower EROA threshold with suboptimal survival. Redefining MR severity purely on EROA or RVol may cause significant clinical problems. As the guidelines emphasize, defining severe MR requires careful integration of all echocardiographic and clinical data, as measurement of EROA is imprecise and poorly reproducible.
- mitral valve
- mitral valve insufficiency
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine