Valve replacement remains common in the adult patient despite advances in valve repair. While a physical examination can alert the clinician to the presence of valve dysfunction, diagnostic methods are often needed to assess the function of the prosthesis. Echocardiography with Doppler is currently the method of choice for non-invasive evaluation of prosthetic valves. A recently published "Guidelines and Standards" document from the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) offers a review of echocardiographic and Doppler techniques used in assessing prosthetic valves and, for the first time, provides general recommendations for evaluating prosthetic valve function. The guidelines have been endorsed by prominent national and international professional health organizations including the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the European Association of Echocardiography. I was honoured to chair the ASE writing group of international experts on prosthetic valves and will review the salient features of these guidelines, particularly pertaining to the commonly implanted valves in the aortic and mitral positions.
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