Mitral Valvuloplasty Workup

Updated: Mar 04, 2014
  • Author: David H Adler, MD, FACC; Chief Editor: Karlheinz Peter, MD, PhD  more...
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Laboratory Studies

No specific lab studies are necessary in the absence of an abnormal bleeding history, although most proceduralists order routine screening labs, including platelet count and prothrombin time, prior to any catheter-based intervention.


Imaging Studies

A transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) scoring system is widely used to assess the suitability of valve morphology for PMBV. The system evaluates 4 components of the valve, each receiving 1-4 points: leaflet mobility, leaflet thickening, valvular calcification, and subvalvular apparatus deformity. [4] A score less than 8 predicts excellent long-term results. Scores from 9-12 deliver intermediate results while scores greater than 12 predict poorer long-term outcomes.

Transthoracic echocardiogram demonstrating severe mitral regurgitation with heavily calcified mitral valve and prolapse of the posterior leaflet into the left atrium.

Recently, a 3-dimensional TTE scoring system has demonstrated feasibility and reproducibility for assessing mitral valve morphology for suitability for PMBV. [5]

Transthoracic echocardiogram demonstrating bioprosthetic mitral valve dehiscence with paravalvular regurgitation.

Symmetric fusion of the mitral leaflets is associated with better outcomes than asymmetric fusion. A commissural calcium score has also been used to complement the standard scoring system for patient selection; those with a higher degree of calcium are less likely to have successful outcomes. [6, 7]

Intracardiac echocardiography (ICE), a more invasive mode of cardiac imaging involving an ultrasound catheter in the right atrium, has also been used to evaluate mitral valve stenosis. ICE detects more extensive subvalvular disease than TTE or TEE and may improve patient selection for PMBV. Preprocedural ICE evaluation can be performed in the catheterization lab immediately prior to PMBV if it will be used to guide valvuloplasty during the procedure.

Apical 4-chamber view demonstrating restricted opening of the anterior and posterior mitral valve leaflet with diastolic doming of anterior leaflet with left atrial enlargement.
Apical 4-chamber view with color Doppler demonstrating aliasing in the atrial side of the mitral valve consistent with increased gradient across the valve. This figure also shows mitral regurgitation and left atrial enlargement.
Magnified view of the mitral valve in apical 4-chamber view revealing restricted opening of both leaflets.

Other Tests

Coronary arteriography should be performed in selected patients prior to PMBV. ACC/AHA guidelines recommend coronary arteriography in men older than 35 years and women older than 35 years with coronary risk factors or who are postmenopausal. Patients with chest pain, evidence of ischemia, decreased LV function, or a history of coronary artery disease should also undergo preprocedural coronary arteriography.

TEE should be performed in all patients prior to PMBV to exclude left atrial thrombus.

Transesophageal echocardiogram demonstrating prolapse of both mitral valve leaflets during systole.
Transesophageal echocardiogram in an apical 3-chamber view showing calcification and doming of the anterior mitral leaflet and restricted opening of both leaflets.
Transesophageal echocardiogram in an apical 3-chamber view with color Doppler interrogation of the mitral valve revealing aliasing, which is consistent with increased gradient across the mitral valve secondary to stenosis. Also shown in this image, a posteriorly directed jet of severe mitral regurgitation.

Diagnostic Procedures

TTE, which allows 2-dimensional evaluation of valve morphology and Doppler evaluation of transmitral gradients, is the principle method of diagnosis. Exercise echocardiography can be helpful in patients with ambiguous symptoms. Cardiac catheterization with measurement of left and right heart pressures and either pulmonary capillary wedge pressure or direct left atrial pressure (by transseptal puncture) was at one time the criterion standard for diagnosis prior to modern Doppler echocardiography. Although not necessary for diagnosis, cardiac catheterization is still sometimes helpful when echocardiographic data do not correlate well with symptoms.