Noninvasive measurement of rate of left ventricular relaxation by Doppler echocardiography: Validation with simultaneous cardiac catheterization

Rick A. Nishimura, Robert S. Schwartz, A. Jamil Tajik, David R. Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Background. The instantaneous pressure gradient between the left ventricle and left atrium during systole can be calculated from the mitral regurgitation Doppler velocity curve. The purpose of our study was to determine the accuracy of measuring the time constant of relaxation (TAU) derived from the Doppler mitral regurgitation signal by comparing it with simultaneous high-fidelity left ventricular pressure measurements in humans. Methods and Results. Twenty-five patients had continuous-wave Doppler mitral regurgitation recordings performed with simultaneous high-fidelity left ventricular pressure measurements. Fifteen of these patients had measurements of six to eight beats at various RR intervals. Doppler velocity curves were converted to left ventricular pressure curves by different methods through application of the modified Bernoulli equation at 3-msec intervals. The correlation between catheter-derived and Doppler-derived TAU was best when a zero asymptote and knowledge of the left ventricular end-diastolic pressure were used. A less optimal but acceptable method used the addition of 20 mm Hg to the Doppler-derived ventriculoatrial gradient. Use of a nonzero asymptote for calculation of TAU yielded poor correlation between catheter and Doppler measurements. The correlation of percentage change in Doppler-derived TAU plotted against percentage change in catheter-derived TAU was poor. Conclusions. The descending limb of the Doppler-derived mitral regurgitation velocity signal can be used as a semiquantitative estimate of the rate of ventricular relaxation. This method requires knowledge of left atrial pressure and may not be sufficiently accurate for detecting small changes in the rate of relaxation on a beat-to-beat basis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-155
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1993


  • Doppler echocardiography
  • Mitral regurgitation
  • Time constant of relaxation
  • Ventricular relaxation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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