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A comparison of the degree of residual mitral regurgitation by intraoperative transoesophageal and follow-up transthoracic echocardiography following mitral valvuloplasty

Green Lane Department of Anaesthesia, Auckland City Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand


Patients who undergo mitral valve repair for mitral regurgitation and have mild residual mitral regurgitation may have an increased risk of re-operation in future years. Intraoperative transoesophageal echocardiography has now become a standard of practice for mitral valve repair surgery. We identified 106 patients who underwent attempted mitral valve repair over a three-year period in our institution. We retrospectively reviewed the grade of residual mitral regurgitation assigned following successful mitral valve repair (‘mild’ or less residual regurgitation) by intraoperative transoesophageal echocardiography and compared it to the observed grade of mitral regurgitation seen at follow-up transthoracic echocardiography. No patient had unexpected moderate or severe mitral regurgitation postoperatively, suggesting that intraoperative transoesophageal echocardiography performed in a medium-sized department is a sensitive tool for the early detection of failed mitral repair. Mild residual mitral regurgitation on intraoperative transoesophageal echocardiography was not reliably associated with mild mitral regurgitation on follow-up transthoracic echocardiography. In fact, 61% of patients with mild mitral regurgitation identified by intraoperative transoesophageal echocardiography had reduced mitral regurgitation at follow-up transthoracic echocardiography (to nil/trace residual mitral regurgitation). This observation, in conjunction with the limitations of the data supporting the goal of ‘echo perfect’ repair, suggests that a second attempt at repair should not be made based on the intraoperative transoesophageal echocardiography finding of mild residual mitral regurgitation alone.

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