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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2002 May 15;39(10):1651-6.

Isolated annular dilation does not usually cause important functional mitral regurgitation: comparison between patients with lone atrial fibrillation and those with idiopathic or ischemic cardiomyopathy.

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  • 1First Department of Internal Medicine, Kagoshima University School of Medicine, Japan.



We sought to test whether isolated mitral annular (MA) dilation can cause important functional mitral regurgitation (MR).


Mitral annular dilation has been considered a primary cause of functional MR. Patients with functional MR, however, usually have both MA dilation and left ventricular (LV) dilation and dysfunction. Lone atrial fibrillation (AF) can potentially cause isolated MA dilation, offering a unique opportunity to relate MA dilation to leaflet function.


Mid-systolic MA area, MR fraction, LV volumes and papillary muscle (PM) leaflet tethering length were compared by echocardiography among 18 control subjects, 25 patients with lone AF and 24 patients with idiopathic or ischemic cardiomyopathy (ICM).


Patients with lone AF had a normal LV size and function but MA dilation (isolated MA dialtion) significant and comparable to that of patients with ICM (MA AREA: 8.0 +/- 1.2 vs. 11.6 +/- 2.3 vs. 12.5 +/- 2.9 cm(2) [control vs. lone AF vs. ICM]; p < 0.001 for both lone AF and ICM). However, patients with lone AF had only modest MR, compared with that of patients with ICM (MR fraction: -3 +/- 8% vs. 3 +/- 9% vs. 36 +/- 25%; p < 0.001 for patients with ICM). Multivariate analysis identified PM tethering length, not MA dilation, as an independent primary contributor to MR.


Isolated annular dilation does not usually cause moderate or severe MR. Important functional MR also depends on LV dilation and dysfunction, leading to an altered force balance on the leaflets, which impairs coaptation.

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