Feasibility of obtaining pulmonary venous flow velocity in cardiac patients using transthoracic pulsed wave Doppler technique

Joan L. Jensen, Faye E. Williams, Brenda J. Beilby, Bonnie L. Johnson, Lisa K. Miller, Timothy L. Ginter, Gina Tomaselli-Martin, Christopher P. Appleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine, in an adult population, the percentage of patients in whom high quality pulmonary venous flow velocity recordings can be obtained using current transthoracic pulsed wave Doppler techniques. Pulmonary venous and mitral flow velocity variables obtained with a pulsed wave Doppler method were used for the indirect assessment of left ventricular (LV) diastolic function and LV filling pressures. The general clinical use of these methods, however, remains uncertain because the transthoracic success rate of obtaining all components of pulmonary venous flow velocity has been variable, and sometimes reported to be as low as 30% to 60%. Mitral and pulmonary venous flow velocity variables were obtained using pulsed wave Doppler signals in 200 consecutive adult patients (mean age 68.2 ± 11.4 years) in normal sinus rhythm who were referred for echocardiographic study. Six cardiac sonographers and five ultrasound systems were used. The success rate for obtaining pulmonary venous systolic and diastolic flow velocity was 95%, reverse flow velocity at atrial contrac-tion was 90%, and the duration of reverse flow at atrial contraction was 89%. In the 5% to 11% of patients in whom pulmonary flow velocities could not be adequately recorded, the most common reasons were depth limitations of the pulsed wave Doppler machine, marked cardiac enlargement, or left atrial wall motion artifact. The success rate also was influenced by the ultrasound equipment used, individual variation among sonographers, and even the type (impaired, pseudonormal, restricted) of associated mitral filling pattern. Given current machine technology, sonographer education, and daily practice, high quality, complete recordings of pulmonary venous flow velocity can be obtained in approximately 90% of adult patients using the precordial transthoracic Doppler technique. These results suggest that using these variables as an aid for evaluating LV diastolic function and filling pressures may have broader clinical applicability than pre-viously appreciated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-66
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Society of Echocardiography
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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