Contrast echocardiography: a novel technique for assessment of total aortic regurgitation following transapical aortic valve implantation

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Aortic regurgitation (AR) is a possible complication following transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) which is associated with less-favourable outcomes. Quantification of total regurgitation caused by multiple, multidirectional jets remains controversial. The purpose of this study was to assess the usefulness of retrograde contrast echocardiography in quantification of total AR following TAVI and to evaluate its prognostic significance.


In 245 patients following Edwards Sapien valve (Edwards Lifesciences, Irvine, CA, USA) implantation, we performed retrograde contrast transoesophageal echocardiography to quantify AR immediately after TAVI. The contrast (20 ml agitated gelatine polysuccinate, Gelafundin 4%, Braun, Melsungen, Germany) was injected as a bolus into the sinotubular junction of the aorta through a pigtail catheter. We measured the area of the regurgitant cloud during mid- to end-diastole. A regurgitant area of ≥3.8 cm2 was determined as an indicator of relevant AR. Sensitivity of this was compared through angiography and Doppler echocardiography. To assess whether AR identified by this novel method independently determined survival, a multivariate model was applied.


Angiography, Doppler echocardiography and contrast echocardiography recognized 15, 23 and 56 patients with relevant regurgitation. Multivariate analysis including a regurgitant area of ≥3.8 cm2, New York Heart Association (NYHA) class IV, age and creatinine concentration identified a regurgitant area of ≥3.8 cm2 (P = 0.027) as independent risk factor for 2-year survival.


Contrast echocardiography is a simple method for quantification of total AR following TAVI and is more sensitive than angiography or Doppler echocardiography. Its clinical relevance is demonstrated by the impact of the AR detected by contrast echocardiography on survival.

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