Article Text


Doppler echocardiography in elderly patients with ejection systolic murmurs.
  1. G. M. McKillop,
  2. D. A. Stewart,
  3. J. M. Burns,
  4. D. Ballantyne
  1. Department of Medicine, Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow, UK.


    Thirty-nine elderly patients, mean age 77 years (range 65 to 96), with ejection systolic murmurs were studied to evaluate the functional significance of these murmurs. Subjects were evaluated clinically, by 2-D echocardiography, and by a full Doppler echocardiography study. Good quality Doppler signals were obtained in 35 subjects. Mitral regurgitation was found to be the only significant valvular lesion in 6 patients (17%). Doppler gradients in systole across the aortic valve were less than 30 mmHg in 28 subjects (80%) and were considered not significant. Gradients of greater than 30 mmHg representing significant aortic stenosis were found in 7 subjects (20%). The clinical sensitivity in detecting significant aortic stenosis was 44% and specificity was 81%. Doppler evidence of significant aortic stenosis was found in a substantial proportion of these elderly subjects. Neither clinical assessment nor 2-D echocardiography can be relied on to exclude this condition.

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