Objectives: The aim of this study was to quantitate patient-specific mitral valve (MV) strain in normal valves and in patients with mitral valve prolapse with and without significant mitral regurgitation (MR) and assess the determinants of MV strain. Background: Few data exist on MV deformation during systole in humans. Three-dimensional echocardiography allows for dynamic MV imaging, enabling digital modeling of MV function in health and disease. Methods: Three-dimensional transesophageal echocardiography was performed in 82 patients, 32 with normal MV and 50 with mitral valve prolapse (MVP): 12 with mild mitral regurgitation or less (MVP − MR) and 38 with moderate MR or greater (MVP + MR). Three-dimensional MV models were generated, and the peak systolic strain of MV leaflets was computed on proprietary software. Results: Left ventricular ejection fraction was normal in all groups. MV annular dimensions were largest in MVP + MR (annular area: 13.8 ± 0.7 cm2) and comparable in MVP − MR (10.6 ± 1 cm2) and normal valves (10.5 ± 0.3 cm2; analysis of variance: p < 0.001). Similarly, MV leaflet areas were largest in MVP + MR, particularly the posterior leaflet (8.7 ± 0.5 cm2); intermediate in MVP − MR (6.5 ± 0.7 cm2); and smallest in normal valves (5.5 ± 0.2 cm2; p < 0.0001). Strain was overall highest in MVP + MR and lowest in normal valves. Patients with MVP − MR had intermediate strain values that were higher than normal valves in the posterior leaflet (p = 0.001). On multivariable analysis, after adjustment for clinical and MV geometric parameters, leaflet thickness was the only parameter that was retained as being significantly correlated with mean MV strain (r = 0.34; p = 0.008). Conclusions: MVs that exhibit prolapse have higher strain compared to normal valves, particularly in the posterior leaflet. Although higher strain is observed with worsening MR and larger valves and annuli, mitral valve leaflet thickness—and, thus, underlying MV pathology—is the most significant independent determinant of valve deformation. Future studies are needed to assess the impact of MV strain determination on clinical outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1099-1109
Number of pages11
JournalJACC: Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • echocardiography
  • mitral valve
  • mitral valve prolapse
  • strain
  • valve regurgitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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