Three-Dimensional Color Doppler Echocardiography for Direct Measurement of Vena Contracta Area in Mitral Regurgitation. In Vitro Validation and Clinical Experience

Stephen H. Little, Bahar Pirat, Rahul Kumar, Stephen R. Igo, Marti McCulloch, Craig J. Hartley, Susan Xu, William A. Zoghbi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


Objectives: Our goal was to prospectively compare the accuracy of real-time three-dimensional (3D) color Doppler vena contracta (VC) area and two-dimensional (2D) VC diameter in an in vitro model and in the clinical assessment of mitral regurgitation (MR) severity. Background: Real-time 3D color Doppler allows direct measurement of VC area and may be more accurate for assessment of MR than the conventional VC diameter measurement by 2D color Doppler. Methods: Using a circulatory loop with an incorporated imaging chamber, various pulsatile flow rates of MR were driven through 4 differently sized orifices. In a clinical study of patients with at least mild MR, regurgitation severity was assessed quantitatively using Doppler-derived effective regurgitant orifice area (EROA), and semiquantitatively as recommended by the American Society of Echocardiography. We describe a step-by-step process to accurately identify the 3D-VC area and compare that measure against known orifice areas (in vitro study) and EROA (clinical study). Results: In vitro, 3D-VC area demonstrated the strongest correlation with known orifice area (r = 0.92, p < 0.001), whereas 2D-VC diameter had a weak correlation with orifice area (r = 0.56, p = 0.01). In a clinical study of 61 patients, 3D-VC area correlated with Doppler-derived EROA (r = 0.85, p < 0.001); the relation was stronger than for 2D-VC diameter (r = 0.67, p < 0.001). The advantage of 3D-VC area over 2D-VC diameter was more pronounced in eccentric jets (r = 0.87, p < 0.001 vs. r = 0.6, p < 0.001, respectively) and in moderate-to-severe or severe MR (r = 0.80, p < 0.001 vs. r = 0.18, p = 0.4, respectively). Conclusions: Measurement of VC area is feasible with real-time 3D color Doppler and provides a simple parameter that accurately reflects MR severity, particularly in eccentric and clinically significant MR where geometric assumptions may be challenging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-704
Number of pages10
JournalJACC: Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • 3D echocardiography
  • color Doppler
  • mitral valve
  • regurgitation
  • vena contracta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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