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Am Heart J. 1991 Aug;122(2):489-94.

Transesophageal color Doppler echocardiography of the normal St. Jude Medical mitral valve prosthesis.

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Abbott-Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis, MN.


Transesophageal color flow Doppler findings are reported in 36 patients with a St. Jude Medical mechanical mitral valve prosthesis who had no auscultatory evidence for prosthetic valve dysfunction. Multiple jets consistent with mitral regurgitation originating from the central and lateral portion of the prosthesis were found in all patients. Maximum jet length ranged from 11 to 51 mm (mean 21 +/- 9 mm). Maximum jet area ranged from 0.2 to 4.1 cm3 (mean 1.2 +/- 0.9 cm2). The color M-mode Doppler interrogation showed two distinct components of the regurgitant jet: brief early systolic flow consistent with valve closure followed by holosystolic regurgitant flow consistent with transvalvular leakage. Four patients (11%) had a maximum regurgitant jet length exceeding 30 mm and absence of early systolic closure regurgitant flow by M-mode color imaging, suggesting clinically silent paravalvular leakage. Two pin-sized paravalvular suture line defects were confirmed in one patient at cardiac transplantation. We conclude that transesophageal echocardiography is a highly sensitive method for detection of mitral regurgitation in the St. Jude Medical mitral prosthesis. Clinically silent paravalvular leakage should be suspected if the maximum jet length exceeds 30 mm and color M-mode interrogation fails to demonstrate an early systolic closure regurgitant flow component.

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