Prediction and assessment of the time-varying effective pulmonary vein area via cardiac MRI and Doppler echocardiography

Andrew W. Bowman, Sándor J. Kovács

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17 Scopus citations


Accurately estimating left atrial (LA) volume with Doppler echocardiography remains challenging. Using angiography for validation, Marino et al. (Marino P, Prioli AM, Destro G, LoSchiavo I, Golia G, and Zardini P. Am Heart J 127: 886-898, 1994) determined LA volume throughout the cardiac cycle by integrating the velocity-time integrals of Doppler transmitral and pulmonary venous flow, assuming constant mitral valve and pulmonary vein areas. However, this LA volume determination method has never been compared with three-dimensional LA volume data from cardiac MRI, the gold standard for cardiac chamber volume measurement. Previously, we determined that the effective mitral valve area is not constant but varies as a function of time. Therefore, we sought to determine whether the effective pulmonary vein area (EPVA) might be time varying as well and also assessed Marino's method for estimating LA volume. We imaged 10 normal subjects using cardiac MRI and concomitant transthoracic Doppler echocardiography. LA and left ventricular (LV) volumes were measured by MRI, transmitral and pulmonary vein flows were measured by Doppler echocardiography, and time dependence was synchronized via the electrocardiogram. LA volume, estimated using Marino's method, was compared with the MRI measurements. Differences were observed, and the discrepancy between the echocardiographic and MRI methods was used to predict EPVA as a function of time. EPVA was also directly measured from short-axis MRI images and was found to be time varying in concordance with predicted values. We conclude that because EPVA and LA volume time dependence are in phase, LA filling in systole and LV filling in diastole are both facilitated. Application to subjects in select pathophysiological states is in progress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H280-H286
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number1 57-1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


  • Cardiac imaging
  • Diastolic function
  • Left atrial conduit volume
  • Pulmonary vein flow


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