Echocardiographic evaluation of the mitral valve has attracted much attention and generated much discussion since its beginnings, some thirty years ago. Echocardiography affords the physician a detailed assessment of mitral valve integrity unequalled by any other non-invasive test. Aside from the normal appearance of the valve, a variety of pathological conditions have been studied in detail; mitral stenosis was the first and over the years the state-of-the-art has evolved from simply looking at the EF slope as an indicator of severity to the accurate quantification utilizing planimetry and 'pressure half-time.' Mitral regurgitation, although not as well quantified as mitral stenosis, can be detected and its etiology usually determined. Mitral valve prolapse may easily be overdiagnosed by echocardiography, however together with auscultation, ultrasound remains the best way to evaluate this common condition. Echocardiography is also invaluable in the evaluation of endocarditis and prosthetic mitral valves.
- doppler echocardiography
- mitral valve disease