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aortic valve thickening and MVP
Posted By  CCF CARDIO MD - MTR on March 16, 1998 at 10:27:08:

In Reply to: aortic valve thickening and MVP posted by Laurette on March 08, 1998 at 16:59:17:

: I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse about a decade ago.  I recently
  read the results from a 2-d echocardiogram that was done 5 years back.  It
  mentioned that there was thickening of the aortic valve to a moderate degree.
  What does this mean?  And was does an EF of 64% mean?  Thank you.
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Dear Laurette, an echocardiogram uses ultrasound technology to generate images of the
beating heart.  An echo can visualize all four valves of the heart to determine the
valve structure and function and can visualize the left ventricle which is the main
contractile chamber of the heart (the left ventricle ejects blood to the rest of the body).
Valves are composed of leaflets that open and close with each heartbeat.  These leaflets
can be thickened from disorders like rheumatic fever, chronic degenerative changes, and
calcification that occurs with aging.  However, it is the opening and closing of the
leaflets, and not the thickening that determines how the valve is functioning.  Your aortic
valve leaflets were reported as being thickened but the valve may be working normally.  I
would need to know more about your past medical history to comment on whether the aortic
valve thickening indicates an underlying disorder, but I suggest you ask your own physician
about this finding on your echocardiogram. It appears, however, that your aortic valve
is working normally.  It's also difficult to ascertain whether the thickenend aortic valve
is associated somehow with your mitral valve prolapse.  The EF (ejection fraction) is a
measure of how efficiently the left ventricle pumps blood to the rest of the body.  
Normally, the EF is > 55%.  A certain amount of blood is always left behind in the
ventricle after each heartbeat so the EF will never be 100%.  In your case, your
ejection fraction is normal. I hope you find this information useful.
Information provided in the heart forum is for general purposes only.  Specific diagnoses
and therapies can only be provided by your physician.  

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