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J Am Coll Cardiol. 1992 Jan;19(1):91-9.

Utility of continuous wave Doppler echocardiography in the noninvasive assessment of left ventricular outflow tract pressure gradient in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

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  • 1Cardiology Branch, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Subaortic obstruction is an important determinant of the clinical presentation of and therapeutic approach to patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Therefore, assessment of the presence and magnitude of the intraventricular pressure gradient is paramount in the clinical evaluation of these patients. To establish the utility of continuous wave Doppler echocardiography in assessing the pressure gradient in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, 28 patients representing the wide hemodynamic spectrum of this disease underwent simultaneous determination of the subaortic gradient by continuous wave Doppler ultrasound and cardiac catheterization. With use of the modified Bernoulli equation, the Doppler-estimated gradient showed a strong correlation with the maximal instantaneous pressure difference measured at catheterization, both under basal conditions (r = 0.93; p less than 0.0001) and during provocative maneuvers (r = 0.89; p less than 0.0001). In 26 of the 28 patients, all assessments of the subaortic gradient were in agreement within 15 mm Hg (average difference 5 +/- 3 mm Hg). In the other two patients there were substantial differences between these measurements (under basal conditions in one patient and after provocation in another), although the Doppler technique predicted the presence of marked subaortic obstruction in each. In both patients the erroneous interpretation was due to superimposition of the mitral regurgitation signal on that of left ventricular outflow. Doppler waveforms from the left ventricular outflow tract showed variability in contour among different patients and in individual patients. Hence, continuous wave Doppler echocardiography is a useful noninvasive method for estimating the subaortic gradient in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. However, technical factors such as contamination of the outflow tract jet with that of mitral regurgitation and variability in waveform configuration may importantly influence such assessments of the subaortic gradient.

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