In vivo mitral valve morphology and motion in mitral valve prolapse
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Mitral leaflet morphology in mitral valve prolapse (MVP) has been suggested to be prognostically important, but in vivo valvular morphology is incompletely described in patients with MVP or in normal subjects. Accordingly, the length of both mitral leaflets and their zone of apposition, the thickness of their rough and clear zones, diastolic and systolic mitral annular diameters, and indexes of abnormal leaflet motion were measured in the parasternal long-axis echocardiographic view in 100 patients with MVP and 100 age- and sex-matched normal subjects. In both groups posterior leaflet thickness was related to age, as were anterior leaflet thickness and posterior leaflet length in patients with MVP. Compared with normal subjects, MVP patients without mitral regurgitation had thickened leaflets, elongated anterior leaflets, and large annular diameters (p < 0.0001). Patients with severe regurgitation had thicker leaflets, longer posterior leaflet and annular dimensions, and more abnormal leaflet motion than MVP patients without regurgitation. Leaflet thicknesses of different zones were supranormal in 60% to 67% and in 49% to 59% of MVP patients with and without severe regurgitation, respectively. MVP patients with regurgitation also had higher prevalences of abnormal mitral annular diameter than those without regurgitation (67% vs 29%) and > 3 mm posterior leaflet billowing into the left atrium (60% vs 34%). Thus, mitral valve size and leaflet thickness are increased in MVP patients without as well as with clinically important mitral regurgitation. The usefulness of leaflet thickening as a marker of severe MVP is limited by its high prevalence in patients with clinically mild MVP.