Age-related valvular regurgitation: a study by pulsed Doppler echocardiography.
To assess the prevalence of valvular regurgitation in the aged, we studied 176 apparently healthy volunteers with no history or physical evidence of cardiac abnormality. Their ages ranged from 40 to 90 (66 +/- 14, mean +/- SD) years. We examined these subjects by pulsed Doppler echocardiography combined with two-dimensional echocardiography to determine the prevalence of valvular regurgitation. Regurgitation began to appear in subjects in their fifties, increasing in prevalence with advancing age (r = .81, p less than .001), and was documented in all over age 80. Similarly, regurgitation involving more than one valve appeared in those 60 years and older, and was very common (89%) in subjects in their eighties. With each type of valvular regurgitation, the prevalence of each type of regurgitation increased with aging, but this tendency was most prominent for aortic regurgitation. We conclude that (1) single or multivalvular regurgitation as detected by pulsed Doppler echocardiography is very common in the aged and may be considered a normal finding in the absence of other evidence of heart disease, and (2) the high prevalence of regurgitation in the aged must be taken into account when Doppler examinations are being performed.
- Copyright © 1987 by American Heart Association