A practical application of Doppler echocardiography for the assessment of severity of aortic stenosis

Michael R. Harrison, John C. Gurley, Mikel D. Smith, Paul A. Grayburn, Anthony N. DeMaria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


This study evaluated a strategy that makes optimal use of Doppler echocardiography for estimating the severity of valvular aortic stenosis (AS). Fifty-eight patients with no more than moderate aortic insufficiency who underwent cardiac catheterization were evaluated with two-dimentional echocardiography and Doppler velocimetry to determine the peak velocity across the stenotic valve and aortic valve area (AVA) by means of the continuity equation. All 33 peak Doppler velocities of ≥ 4 m/sec had critical AS (AVA ≤ 0.8 cm2 at catheterization). Conversly, six of seven patients with Doppler velocities of ≤ 3 m/sec had noncritical AS. The patient with a falsely low peak velocity had severely depressed left ventricular function. Doppler velocity alone was inadequate in determining severity of AS for patients with velocities between 3 and 4 m/sec. The continuity equation proved accurate in estimating AVA in the 46 patients for whom catheterization and ultrasound data were sufficient to compare calculated AVA (r = 0.81), and was also accurate for those patients with peak Doppler velocities between 3 and 4 m/sec (r = 0.90). These results suggest that Doppler velocimetry alone is adequate in determining critical vs noncritical AS in many patients, while the continuity equation should be applied for patients with peak velocities between 3 and 4 m/sec as well as in patients with severely depressed cardiac function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)622-628
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Heart Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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