Color Doppler evaluation of valvular regurgitation in normal subjects.
To determine prospectively the prevalence of mitral, aortic, tricuspid, and pulmonary regurgitation in normal persons, 211 consecutive, apparently healthy volunteers were examined with a color Doppler flow imaging system. The subjects were divided into five age groups (group 1, 6-9 years old; group 2, 10-19 years old, group 3, 20-29 years old, group 4, 30-39 years old, and group 5, 40-49 years old). The prevalence rate of mitral regurgitation in the normal subjects was 38-45% in each group. The mitral regurgitant jets came from the posteromedial commissure in all but two subjects. No aortic regurgitant flow signals were detected in the normal subjects. Tricuspid regurgitation was detected in 15-77% in each group, and pulmonary regurgitation was detected in 28-88%. Regarding the tricuspid and pulmonic valves, the prevalence rate of regurgitation is age dependent (p less than 0.01) and tends toward the lower rate in groups over the age of 30 years. The tricuspid and pulmonary regurgitant jets came from the center of the coaptation of each valve. The area of the regurgitant jet signals in normal persons was significantly smaller (p less than 0.001) than that obtained from patients with organic valve disease. Our study shows that in a large proportion of normal persons under the age of 50 years color Doppler echocardiography permits recording of regurgitant signals behind all valves except the aortic. In conclusion, one should be aware of the existence and characteristics of regurgitation in normal persons when evaluating valvular regurgitation by Doppler techniques.
- Copyright © 1988 by American Heart Association