Diagnostic and Prognostic Value of Several Color Doppler Jet Grading Methods in Patients with Mitral Regurgitation.

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Color Doppler is a widely used ultrasound imaging method for assessing mitral regurgitation (MR) in clinical practice. Nevertheless, color Doppler-based grading of the MR jet has been rarely considered in clinical studies. We investigated the diagnostic and prognostic value of several color Doppler MR jet grading methods and compared them with quantitative grading of MR. The MR color Doppler jet was assessed in 476 MR patients using an 'integrated' eyeballing approach by quantifying the color Doppler jet area, jet area/left atrium area and jet length and using quantitative methods. Clinical endpoints were scored as major adverse clinical events, including cardiovascular death, heart failure hospitalization and mitral valve intervention. When assessed by three echocardiographers, there was a moderate inter-observer agreement for eyeballing color Doppler grade of MR (ICC 0.69, p<0.001). The intra-observer agreement was good for all color Doppler approaches. In primary MR, eyeballing color Doppler correlated well with (in)direct measures of MR severity, with a negative predictive value of 91% when using a grade 2 color Doppler as cut-off. In secondary MR, eyeballing color Doppler grade and jet length were predictors of clinical outcome in Cox proportional hazards analysis (p=0.003), independent of pulmonary pressures, atrial and ventricular volumes. Overall, the integrated eyeballing approach performed better than color Doppler quantification of the MR jet area and length. In conclusion, this study shows that color Doppler grading of the distal MR jet performs well in predicting events in primary and secondary MR, compared to quantitative grading methods.


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