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Circulation. 2007 Sep 11;116(11 Suppl):I264-9.

Functional anatomy of aortic regurgitation: accuracy, prediction of surgical repairability, and outcome implications of transesophageal echocardiography.

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Division of Cardiology, Cliniques Universitaires St-Luc, Avenue Hippocrate 10-2881, B-1200 Brussels, Belgium.



For patients with aortic regurgitation (AR), aortic valve sparing or repair surgery is an attractive alternative to valve replacement. In this setting, accurate preoperative delineation of aortic valve pathology and potential repairability is of paramount importance. The aim of the present study was to assess the diagnostic value of preoperative transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) in defining the mechanisms of AR, as identified by surgical inspection, and in predicting repairability, by using the final surgical approach as reference.


One hundred and sixty-three consecutive patients (117 males, mean age: 58+/-14 years) undergoing AR surgery were included. Mechanisms of AR were categorized by TEE and surgical inspection as follows: type 1, aortic dilatation; type 2, cusp prolapse; and type 3, restrictive cusp motion or endocarditis. At surgery, mechanisms of AR were type 1 in 41 patients, type 2 in 62, and type 3 in 60. Agreement between TEE and surgical inspection was 93% (kappa=0.90). Valve sparing or repair was performed in 125 patients and valve replacement in 38 patients. TEE correctly predicted the final surgical approach in 108/125 (86%) patients undergoing repair and in 35/38 (93%) patients undergoing replacement. The gross anatomic classification of AR lesions by TEE was determinant of valve repairability and postoperative outcome (4-year freedom from > grade 2 AR, reoperation, or death, P=0.04).


TEE provides a highly accurate anatomic assessment of all types of AR lesions. In addition, the functional anatomy of AR defined by TEE is strongly and independently predictive of valve repairability and postoperative outcome.

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