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J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2003 Sep;16(9):1002-6.

Color flow imaging of the vena contracta in mitral regurgitation: technical considerations.

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Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute, Baylor University Medical Center, USA.


Qualitative grading of mitral regurgitation severity has significant pitfalls secondary to hemodynamic variables, sonographic technique, blood pool entrainment, and the Coanda effect. Volumetric and proximal isovelocity surface area methods can be used to quantitate regurgitant orifice area, regurgitant volume, and regurgitant fraction, but have several limitations and can pose technical challenges. The vena contracta width method provides a rapid and accurate quantitative assessment of mitral regurgitation severity, but is clinically underused. This article is intended to generate an understanding of the flow mechanics of the vena contracta and the sonographic technique required to provide consistent and accurate measurements of vena contracta width in patients with mitral regurgitation.

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