• Congestive heart failure;
  • Doppler echocardiography;
  • Heart disease

Previous studies have demonstrated that regurgitant fraction can be measured by using the proximal isovelocity surface area (PISA) method. For this study, we utilized this Doppler echocardiographic method to estimate the magnitude of mitral regurgitation in dogs with myxomatous mitral valve disease. Seventeen older, small dogs with chronic mitral regurgitation and no to mild myocardial failure were studied. A blinded observer judged the clinical severity of mitral regurgitation to be mild, moderate, or severe by using echocardiographic assessment of left heart size. The regurgitant fraction was calculated by using the PISA method and spectral Doppler echocardiography. The regurgitant fraction was compared to the clinical assessment of severity for each dog and to calculations of left atrial size. Five dogs had clinically mild mitral regurgitation. Four of these dogs had a regurgitant fraction between 22 and 41%, whereas 1 had a regurgitant fraction of 73%. The 3 dogs with clinical evidence of moderate mitral regurgitation had a regurgitant fraction of 46–65%. All 9 dogs with clinically severe mitral regurgitation had a regurgitant fraction greater than 75% (78–88%). The regurgitant fraction was statistically different between each group (P < .001). A good but curvilinear relationship was found between left atrial size and regurgitant fraction (r2= 0.72). In this study, dogs with clinically severe mitral regurgitation consistently had hemodynamically severe regurgitation (regurgitant fraction > 75%), whereas dogs with clinically mild to moderate disease had lesser degrees of regurgitation. Good correlation was found between regurgitant fraction and left atrial size. We conclude that the major determinant of left atrial size and disease severity in dogs with mitrial regurgitation is the degree of mitral regurgitation.