Mitral regurgitation in ischemic heart disease (IMR) is a strong predictor of outcome but until now, pathophysiology is not sufficiently understood and treatment is not satisfying. We aimed to systematically evaluate structural and functional mitral valve leaflet and annular characteristics in patients with IMR to determine the differences in geometric and dynamic changes of the MV between significant and mild IMR.
Thirty-seven patients with IMR (18 mild (m)MR, 19 significant (moderate+severe) (s)MR) and 33 controls underwent TEE. 3D volumes were analyzed using 3D feature-tracking software.
All IMR patients showed a loss of mitral annular motility and non-planarity, whereas mitral annulus dilation and leaflet enlargement occurred in sMR only. Active-posterior-leaflet-area decreased in early systole in all three groups accompanied by an increase in active-anterior-leaflet-area in early systole in controls and mMR but only in late systole in sMR.
In addition to a significant enlargement and loss in motility of the MV annulus, patients with significant IMR showed a spatio-temporal alteration of the mitral valve coaptation line due to a delayed increase in active-anterior-leaflet-area. This abnormality is likely to contribute to IMR severity and is worth the evaluation of becoming a parameter for clinical decision-making. Further, addressing the leaflets aiming to increase the active leaflet-area is a promising therapeutic approach for significant IMR. Additional studies with a larger sample size and post-operative assessment are warranted to further validate our findings and help understand the dynamics of the mitral valve.