One approach to reducing error related to left ventricular outflow tract (LVOT) diameter measurements is removing the cross section area (CSA) from the simplified continuity equation. It is a ratio of the subvalvular velocity obtained by pulsed-wave Doppler and the maximum velocity obtained by continuous-wave Doppler across the aortic valve. This dimensionless velocity ratio expresses the size of the valvular effective area as a proportion of the CSA of the LVOT. Substitution of the time-velocity integral can also be used as there was a high correlation between the ratio using time–velocity integral and the ratio using peak velocities. In the absence of valve stenosis, the velocity ratio approaches 1, with smaller numbers indicating more severe stenosis. Severe stenosis is present when the velocity ratio is 0.25 or less, corresponding to a valve area 25% of normal. To some extent, the velocity ratio is normalized for body size because it reflects the ratio of the actual valve area to the expected valve area in each patient, regardless of body size. However, this measurement ignores the variability in LVOT size beyond variation in body size.
Subvalvular (LVOT) velocity (m/s)
Maximum velocity across the valve (m/s)
Baumgartner H, et al. Echocardiographic assessment of valve stenosis: EAE/ASE recommendations for clinical practice. J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2009 Jan;22(1):8,10.
Chafizadeh ER, Zoghbi WA. Doppler echocardiographic assessment of the St. Jude Medical prosthetic valve in the aortic position using the continuity equation. Circulation 1991; 83:213-223.
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