Radionuclide ventriculographic study of adaptations to exercise in aortic regurgitation
Exercise-gated radionuclide ventriculography has been proposed as a method to evaluate cardiac reserve in patients with aortic regurgitation (AR). Characterization of ventricular function, however, in AR is complicated by the dynamic nature of the leak in individual patients and by variations in severity among patients. Twenty patients with isolated AR were studied to assess the effects of exercise on the regurgitant index. The regurgitant index (left ventricular divided by right ventricular stroke counts) estimates the severity of the leak. The regurgitant index at rest was significantly higher in patients with AR than in patients without AR (3.46 +/- 1.25 versus 1.08 +/- 0.16, p less than 0.001). In patients with AR, the regurgitant index decreased during exercise to 2.6 +/- 0.8 (p less than 0.001), whereas it did not change in the control group (1.16 +/- 0.21, difference not significant). Further, in patients with AR, the greater the regurgitant index at rest, the greater the decrease during exercise (y = 0.56x -- 1.08, r = 0.78, p less than 0.001). End-diastolic counts and stroke count responses from rest to exercise were highly variable, but were explained in part by the decreasing regurgitant index. These data support previous catheterization studies and confirm gated radionuclide ventriculography as a useful tool for monitoring adaptations to exercise in AR.