Flow reversal in the descending aorta: A guide to intraoperative assessment of aortic regurgitation with transesophageal echocardiography

D. C. Sutton, R. Kluger, S. U. Ahmed, S. C. Reimold, J. B. Mark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


This study assessed the value of biplane transesophageal echocardiographic assessment of diastolic flow reversal in the descending aorta as an alternative to Doppler color flow imaging in determining severity of aortic regurgitation. In 45 patients undergoing cardiac operations, the severity of aortic regurgitation was assessed by semiquantitative grading of the width of the Doppler color flow regurgitant jet relative to the left ventricular outflow tract, and the presence of diastolic flow reversal was assessed with pulsed-wave Doppler measurements at three sites in the descending aorta. In four patients, the diastolic flow reversal method was the only available form of assessment because of inadequate visualization of the left ventricular outflow tract beneath a mitral valve prosthesis. Diastolic flow reversal in the descending aorta was not observed in patients without aortic regurgitation and was always present in patients with severe aortic regurgitation. Aortic valve replacement successfully eliminated descending aortic flow reversal in all 19 patients in whom it was present before valve replacement. Identification of diastolic flow reversal at multiple sites in the descending aorta with biplane transesophageal echocardiography helps to confirm the presence of severe aortic regurgitation and can serve as an alternative method of assessment when visualization of the left ventricular outflow tract is impaired.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)576-582
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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