Printer Friendly

Some observations on mitral and aortic valve disease.


Before 1960, the only source for studying the heart was the autopsy. The early years of cardiac valve replacement provided a rich source of necropsy "material" until valve techniques and artificial heart valves became more refined. In the 1950s and 1960s, most physicians attributed valvular heart disease in adults to rheumatic heart disease. During the 1960s and 1970s, many thousands of patients with rheumatic heart disease underwent replacement of one or more cardiac valves. By the 1980s, most of this rheumatic heart disease pool of patients had undergone operation; in addition, the frequency of rheumatic fever and subsequently rheumatic heart disease had dropped dramatically. By the 1970s, the congenitally malformed aortic valve was found to be frequent in adults with aortic stenosis (AS), and mitral valve prolapse (MVP) was being recognized as a common cause of pure (no associated stenosis) mitral regurgitation (MR). By the 1990s, the frequency of autopsies in US hospitals had dropped enormously compared with the 1950s, and operatively excised cardiac valves were becoming the major source of anatomic study. Although established by the 1980s, cardiac transplantation was rarely performed in patients with valvular heart disease.


Roberts (1) personally studied 1010 hearts at necropsy in patients with fatal valvular heart disease (Table 1). All had died between 1955 and 1980 and the specimens were retrieved from a number of different hospitals, most of which were located in the Washington, DC, area. As shown in Table 1, these cases were given both a functional (valve stenosis [+ or -] regurgitation or pure regurgitation [no element of stenosis]) and an anatomic classification. A number of these patients had only one dysfunctional valve but in addition had one or more anatomically abnormal valves (normal function). (A valve may be anatomically abnormal yet function normally.) AS was the most common functional disorder (29%); in 35 (12%) of these 292 patients, the mitral leaflets were diffusely thickened (rheumatic heart disease) but there was no clinical evidence of mitral dysfunction. Most of the 256 patients with AS and anatomically normal mitral valves had congenitally unicuspid or bicuspid aortic valves.

Mitral stenosis (MS) was the next most common functional valve disease, but 72 (38%) of these 189 patients also had anatomic involvement of one or more other cardiac valves. All patients with MS, whether isolated or associated with a functional disorder of another cardiac valve, had the valvular disease attributed to rheumatic heart disease.

Combined MS and AS was the third most common functional valvular disease (15%), and 32 (21%) of these 152 cases also had anatomic disease of the tricuspid valve leaflets. The purely regurgitant lesions (aortic regurgitation [AR], MR, or both) were less common. Tricuspid stenosis of rheumatic etiology occurred in only 3% of the 1010 cases, and all had associated MS with or without associated AS. No other large series of patients with valvular heart disease studied at necropsy has been reported in the last 25 years, and it is unlikely that such a large series, all studied by a single physician, will be accumulated in the future because of the low autopsy rates in most hospitals today and because few specimens are retained indefinitely after autopsy.


Today the most frequently studied operatively excised valve is the stenotic aortic valve, followed by a portion of posterior mitral leaflet in patients with MR excised secondary to MVP (Table 2). Operatively excised purely regurgitant aortic valves with or without excision of portions of ascending aorta are also common. Purely regurgitant mitral valves that are replaced usually yield only anterior mitral leaflets as specimens; the posterior leaflet is usually not excised. Tricuspid valves are rarely excised today.

The remainder of this article discusses specific mitral and aortic valvular disorders.


Frequency and causes

If systemic hypertension is not considered, AS is the second most common potentially fatal or fatal heart disease after coronary heart disease. There are three major causes of AS: atherosclerosis (formerly called degenerative), congenitally malformed valves, and rheumatic heart disease.

That atherosclerosis is a cause of AS is derived primarily from five pieces of evidence:

1. Patients with familial homozygous hyperlipidemia (serum total cholesterol levels >800 mg/dL from birth) usually develop calcific deposits on the aortic aspects of their aortic valve cusps early in life, usually by the teenage years (2).

2. Progression of AS can be slowed by lowering total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels by statins (3).

3. Patients >65 years of age with AS involving a three-cuspid aortic valve (unassociated with mitral valve disease) usually have extensive atherosclerosis involving the major epicardial coronary arteries and usually other systemic arterial systems (4).

4. Serum total cholesterol levels and concomitant coronary bypass grafting tend to be higher in patients with AS involving three-cuspid aortic valves than in patients of similar age and sex without AS or with congenitally bicuspid aortic valves (5).

5. Histologic study of three-cuspid stenotic aortic valves demonstrates features similar to those in atherosclerotic plaques (2).

The unicuspid aortic valve appears to be stenotic from birth (6, 7). The congenitally bicuspid valve, however, is infrequently stenotic at birth but becomes stenotic as calcific deposits form on the aortic aspects of the cusps (8). Rheumatic heart disease never involves the aortic valve anatomically without also involving the mitral valve (9). Although the mitral valve may be diffusely abnormal anatomically, its function can be normal. Consequently, a patient with rheumatic heart disease can present initially with only aortic valve dysfunction, and therefore rheumatic heart disease has to be considered a cause of functionally isolated AS ([+ or -] AR) or pure AR (9).

Valve structure

In patients with isolated AS ([+ or -] AR) (only cardiac valve anatomically abnormal) the aortic valve may be unicuspid, bicuspid, tricuspid, or quadricuspid. The congenitally unicuspid valve is of two types: acommissural and unicommissural (7, 10). The acommissural valve, which represents <10% of the unicuspid valves, has a central orifice and no distinct commissures. The unicommissural valve, which constitutes most of the unicuspid valves, has one commissure and usually two other rudimentary commissures (raphae) and a vertical orifice extending from the only true commissure (Figures 1 and 2) (9).






The congenitally bicuspid valve (Figures 3 and 4) of course has two cusps, and they are usually of slightly unequal size in both cuspal surface area and weight. Usually one of the two cusps contains a raphe in its central portion. Often the raphe cusp has free margins that are V-shaped with the apex of the V pointing to the raphe, producing a concave configuration. The nonraphe cusp in this circumstance commonly has a convex configuration that fits nicely into the concave shape of the raphe cusp such that associated regurgitation is absent or minimal. These bicuspid valves with a concave configuration of the raphe cusp and a convex appearance of free margin of the nonraphe cusp are often confused with tricuspid valves with fusion of one of three commissures. In other bicuspid valves the free margins of both cusps are relatively straight.

The tricuspid aortic valve is common in older patients with AS (atherosclerotic origin) and in patients in whom the AS is of rheumatic etiology. (These latter patients always have mitral leaflets that are diffusely fibrotic [with or without focal calcific deposits], or at least the margins of both leaflets are everywhere thickened by fibrous tissue.) In patients with AS of rheumatic etiology, one or more of the three commissures are often fused and the cusps may be either diffusely or focally fibrotic with or without commissural fusion or calcific deposits. The stenotic tricuspid aortic valve in older persons contains calcific deposits on the aortic surfaces, usually involving the sites of cuspal attachments, and the commissures characteristically are not fused (Figure 5). Thus, operative excision produces three cusps, none of which is attached to another (Figure 6). Older patients with AS often also have calcified mitral anomaly. Figure 7 shows how calcium might develop in both the aortic valve and the mitral annulus.


The quadricuspid aortic valve is rare (12). When present and if dysfunctional, the dysfunction is usually pure AR. AS with a quadricuspid valve is exceedingly rare, seen by Roberts (13) in 1 of 1118 operatively excised stenotic aortic valves.

Necropsy studies of patients with isolated aortic stenosis ([+ or -] AR) and never a cardiac operation--natural history

During a 32-year period at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Roberts collected (mainly from hospitals in the Washington, DC, area) the hearts of 192 adults (aged 16-99 years) with isolated AS; none of them had ever had a cardiac operation (unpublished data). Of the 192 patients, 139 (72%) were men and 53 (28%) were women (Table 3). The average age of the men was 61 years, and that of the women, 71 years, the same average ages of death as in coronary heart disease. The weight of the hearts was 610 [+ or -] 135 g (normal, <400 g) in the men and 486 [+ or -] 111 g (normal, <350 g) in the women. The aortic valve was congenitally unicuspid in 17 patients (9%), congenitally bicuspid in 89 patients (46%), and tricuspid in 86 (45%) (Table 4). Other observations in these 192 patients are shown in Tables 3 and 4.


Weights of operatively excised stenotic aortic valves

The weight of operatively excised stenotic aortic valves is useful in quantitating the severity of the stenosis because the weight is determined primarily by the quantity of calcific deposits and the larger the calcific deposits, the greater the transvalvular pressure gradient (13-24). Roberts and colleagues (22) reported weights in 1849 operatively excised stenotic valves in patients aged 21 to 91 years without concomitant mitral valve replacement or mitral stenosis. These authors found that the weight of the stenotic valves varied inversely with the number of aortic valve cusps (14). The unicuspid valves were the heaviest, the bicuspid valves the next heaviest, and the tricuspid aortic valves, the lightest. The men had heavier valves than did the women (Figure 8), and the younger patients had heavier valves than did the older patients. The mean weights of the valves were similar in patients whose body mass index was <25, 25-30, and >30 kg/[m.sup.2]. Mean valve weights also were heavier in the patients who did not undergo simultaneous coronary artery bypass grafting than in those who did.

Table 5 shows various clinical findings in the 1849 patients whose stenotic aortic valves were studied by Roberts and colleagues (22). The patients underwent aortic valve replacement at three different institutions: NIH from 1963 to 1989, Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) from 1969 to 1992, and Baylor University Medical Center (BUMC) from 1993 to 2004. All 1849 operatively excised stenotic valves were examined and classified by WCR. Patients having simultaneous mitral valve replacement or mitral stenosis were excluded. The valves excised at NIH and at GUMC from 1963 to 1992 were heavier than the valves excised at BUMC from 1993 to 2004: men 4.05 [+ or -] 1.91 (NIH), 4.36 [+ or -] 1.83 (GUMC), and 3.11 [+ or -] 1.51 g (BUMC); women 2.80 [+ or -] 1.26 (NIH), 3.02 [+ or -] 1.26 (GUMC), and 1.89 [+ or -] 0.87 g (BUMC).

Not only did the valve weights vary according to valve structure (unicuspid > bicuspid > tricuspid), but often there was variation in individual cusps among patients with bicuspid valves and among patients with tricuspid valves (15, 16). Of 200 operatively excised stenotic congenitally bicuspid valves, the two cusps in 152 patients (76%) differed in weight by >0.2 g, and in 48 patients (24%) the cusps were of similar weight ([less than or equal to] 0.2 g difference) (15). In 161 of the 200 patients, a raphe was present in one of the two cusps: the raphe and nonraphe cusps differed in weight in 120 patients (74%) with the raphe cusps being heavier in 89 patients (55%), lighter in 31 patients (19%), and of similar weight in 41 (26%). Of the 39 patients without a raphe in one cusp, in 32 patients (82%) the two cusps were of different (>0.2 g) weight and in 7 patients (18%), similar in weight ([less than or equal to] 0.2 g).

Of 260 operatively excised stenotic three-cuspid aortic valves, all three cusps differed (by >0.1 g) in weight in 71 patients (27%); all three cusps were similar ([less than or equal to] 0.1 g difference) in weight in 33 patients (13%), and in 156 patients (60%) one cusp differed from either of the other two cusps which were similar in weight (16).

Why might cusps of operatively excised stenotic valves differ in weight? The most likely explanation seems to be that the cusps differ in size, that is, in surface area, from birth. The cusp with the largest surface area has, of course, a larger area on which calcium can be deposited, and the weight of a cusp is determined primarily by the amount of calcium deposited on its aortic surface.


The best determinant of the magnitude of obstruction in patients with AS has been debated. Determinants considered have been aortic valve area or index, mean transvalvular systolic gradient, and peak transvalvular systolic gradients. Roberts and Ko (17) compared the weights of operatively excised stenotic aortic valves to peak transvalvular systolic pressure gradient and to aortic valve area. The results of these studies in 201 men and in 123 women with isolated AS are shown in Table 6. In both men and women the weights of the stenotic aortic valves increased significantly as the peak left ventricular-to-aortic systolic gradient increased, but valve weight had essentially no relation to aortic valve area. Women had significantly lower valve weights, with peak gradients similar to those in men. In men with valve weights from 1 to 2 g, the peak transvalvular gradient averaged 36 mm Hg and the valve areas, 0.86 c[m.sup.2]; in the men with valve weights >6 g, the peak gradients averaged 87 mm Hg, whereas the valve was 0.71 [cm.sup.2]. In women with valve weights [less than or equal to] 1 g, the peak gradient averaged 28 mm Hg and valve area, 0.83 [cm.sup.2]; in women whose valve weighed from >3 to 4 g, the peak gradients averaged 85 mm Hg, and the valve area, 0.51 [cm.sup.2] (Table 6).

Relatively few operatively excised aortic valves in adults with AS are [greater than or equal to] 5 g, and those reaching that weight are usually congenitally malformed. Of unicuspid valves, 37 (30%) of 124 valves in men and 5 (11%) of 44 in women reached this weight; of bicuspid valves, 96 (18%) of 521 valves in men and 4 (2%) of 236 valves in women reached this weight (unpublished data). In contrast, only 15 (4%) of 361 tricuspid valves in men and only 2 (0.7%) of 281 valves in women reached this weight. Of 1038 operatively excised stenotic aortic valves in men, 161 (16%) were [greater than or equal to] 5 g, and of 571 valves in women, only 13 (2%) reached this weight. Seven operatively excised stenotic valves weighed [greater than or equal to] 10 g: all were in men and all seven were either unicuspid or bicuspid and the peak pressure gradient across them ranged from 80 to 143 mm Hg (average, 101) (unpublished data).

Associated coronary arterial narrowing

Patients with operatively excised congenitally unicuspid and bicuspid valves have significantly less epicardial coronary arterial narrowing than do patients with tricuspid aortic valves (Table 7). Concomitant coronary artery bypass grafting also varies according to the era during which the aortic valve replacement was done and the institution where it was done. Also, criteria for performing coronary artery bypass grafting in patients having aortic valve replacement have changed with time.

Relation to left bundle branch block and/or complete heart block

At one time, patients with AS and left bundle branch block or complete heart block were believed to have these conduction disturbances because of associated severe coronary arterial narrowing from atherosclerosis. Study at necropsy, however, of many patients with combined AS and left bundle branch block or complete heart block has indicated that the conduction disturbance was due not to associated coronary narrowing but to destruction of the left bundle branches or the atrioventricular bundle by calcific deposits that had extended caudally from the aortic valve (Roberts, unpublished data). Most of these patients had congenitally malformed aortic valves--not tricuspid valves--and severe degrees of hemodynamic obstruction as a result of the heavy calcific deposits.


There are two major causes of pure (no element of stenosis) AR: 1) conditions affecting primarily the valve, and 2) conditions affecting the aorta and only secondarily causing the valve to be incompetent. Roberts and Ko (25) recently reviewed the cause of pure AR in 268 patients having isolated aortic valve replacement at BUMC from 1993 to 2005. As shown in Table 8, conditions affecting primarily the valve were the cause of the AR in 122 patients (46%), and non-valve conditions were the cause in 146 patients (54%). Among the former, the congenitally bicuspid valve unassociated with infective endocarditic was the problem in 59 patients, 22 (37%) of whom had resection of portions of the dilated ascending aorta. Eleven of the 22 patients with resected aortas had severe loss of medial elastic fibers. Infective endocarditis was the cause in 46 patients, 15 (33%) of whom had congenitally bicuspid aortic valves. Thus, of the 122 with valve conditions causing the AR, 74 (61%) had congenitally bicuspid aortic valves. Why one congenitally bicuspid aortic valve becomes stenotic (8, 26), another has pure regurgitation without superimposed infective endocarditis (27), another becomes severely dysfunctional only when infective endocarditis appears (28), and some function normally an entire lifetime is unclear (8). Of 85 patients, aged 15 to 79 years, with congenitally bicuspid aortic valves studied at autopsy by Roberts (8), 61 valves (72%) were stenotic, 2 (2%) had pure regurgitation without superimposed infective endocarditis, 9 (11%) had AR because of infective endocarditis, and 13 (15%) functioned normally during the patients' 23 to 59 years of life (mean, 45).

Rheumatic heart disease is a relatively infrequent cause of pure AR in patients with normally functioning mitral valves (9). All such patients (by our definition of rheumatic heart disease) have diffuse fibrosis of the mitral leaflets or at least diffuse thickening of the margins of these leaflets. In this circumstance mitral valve function would be normal despite the anatomic abnormality.

Infective endocarditis more commonly involves a three-cuspid aortic valve than a two-cuspid one because the tricuspid valve is so much more common than the bicuspid valve (28).

Rheumatoid arthritis is a rare cause of AR. The anatomic abnormality is specific for this condition and consists of rheumatoid nodules within the aortic valve cusps (29, 30).

Conditions affecting the ascending aorta and causing it to dilate cause AR more commonly than those conditions affecting primarily the aortic valve. Of 146 patients having pure AR and isolated aortic valve replacement, the cause of the AR was not determined after examination of the operatively excised aorta and aortic valve (25). Many of these patients had systemic hypertension but only mild dilation of the aorta, and all had normal or nearly normal three-cuspid aortic valves. It is likely that systemic hypertension in some way played a role in the AR (31, 32).


Aortic dissection usually produces acute AR due to the splitting of the aortic media behind the aortic valve commissures, resulting in prolapse of one or more cusps toward the left ventricular cavity (33).


Diffuse thickening of the tubular portion of the central ascending aorta with sparing of the aortic wall behind the sinuses is characteristic of cardiovascular syphilis (34). These patients generally undergo a cardiovascular operation because of diffuse aneurysmal dilatation of the tubular portion of ascending aorta, not as a rule because of severe AR. Granulomatous (giant cell) aortitis grossly mimics cardiovascular syphilis but is far less common. During the past 10 years, 15 patients have had resection of aneurysmally dilated syphilitic aortas with or without simultaneous aortic valve replacement at BUMC (unpublished). The characteristic histologic feature of cardiovascular syphilis is extensive thickening of the aortic wall due to fibrous thickening of the intima and adventitia (Figure 9). The medial elastic fibers and smooth-muscle cells are also replaced focally by scars due to narrowings in the vasa vasora. Focal collections of plasma cells and lymphocytes are present in the adventitia. Giant cell aortitis is similar to syphilitic aortitis except for the presence of multinucleated giant cells.

The AR in patients with the Marfan syndrome and forme fruste varieties of it is the result of severe dilatation of the sinus portion and proximal tubular portion of the aorta (35). The consequence of the "aortic root" dilatation is stretching of the aortic valve cusps in roughly a straight line between the commissures, leading to a wide-open central regurgitant stream. In contrast to cardiovascular syphilis, the aortic wall in the Marfan syndrome is thinner than normal due to the massive loss of medial elastic fibers and lack of thickening of either the intima or the adventitia.

Ankylosing spondylitis causes AR by involving both the valve cusps and the portion of aorta behind and adjacent to the lateral attachments of the aortic valve cusps (36, 37). About 5% of patients with this form of arthritis develop AR. The bases of the aortic valve cusps become densely thickened by fibrous tissue, which is also present on the ventricular aspect of the anterior mitral leaflet and on the left ventricular aspect of the membranous ventricular septum. Varying degrees of heart block may result from this subaortic deposit of dense fibrous tissue. The AR associated with ankylosing spondylitis is usually severe, with diastolic pressures in both the aorta and the left ventricle often being similar. The histologic appearance of the aorta in ankylosing spondylitis is similar to that in syphilitis, but the syphilitic process never extends onto the aortic valve cusps or into the subvalvular area and rarely involves the wall of aorta behind the sinuses.

A diagram of the various conditions affecting the aortic valve is shown in Figure 10.


Mitral Stenosis

Of the 1010 patients aged [greater than or equal to] 15 years with functionally severe valvular cardiac disease studied at necropsy by Roberts up to 1980, 434 (44%) had MS (1). MS occurred alone in 189 (44%) patients and in combination with other functional valve lesions in the other 245 patients (56%). MS was of rheumatic etiology in all 434 patients.


Rheumatic heart disease may be viewed as a disease of the mitral valve; other valves also may be involved both anatomically and functionally, but anatomically the mitral valve is always involved (38, 39) (Figure 11). Aschoff bodies have never been reported in hearts without anatomic disease of the mitral valve (39). Of the first 543 patients with severe valvular heart disease that Roberts and Virmani (40) studied at necropsy, 11 (2.7%) had Aschoff bodies, and all had anatomic mitral valve disease. The 11 patients ranged in age from 18 to 68 years (mean, 38), and 9 had a history of acute rheumatic fever; 9 had MS with or without dysfunction of one or more other cardiac valves; 1 had isolated AR; and 1 had both AR and MR. All 11 had diffuse fibrous thickening of the mitral leaflets, and all but one had diffuse anatomic lesions of at least two other cardiac valves. Thus, among patients with chronic valve disease, Aschoff bodies, the only anatomic lesion pathognomic of rheumatic heart disease, usually indicate diffuse anatomic lesions of one or more cardiac valves, and the most common hemodynamic lesion is MS [+ or -] MR.

Although rare at necropsy in patients with fatal chronic valve disease, Aschoff bodies are fairly common in the heart of patients having mitral commissurotomy for MS. Among 481 patients having various valve operations, Aschoff bodies were found by Virmani and Roberts (41) in 40 (21%) of 191 operatively excised left atrial appendages, in 4 (2%) of 273 operatively excised left ventricular papillary muscles, and in 1 (6%) of 17 patients in whom both appendage and papillary muscle were excised. Of these 45 patients with Aschoff bodies, 44 had MS (Figure 12) and only one, a 10-year-old boy, had pure MR. Sinus rhythm was present preoperatively in 38 (84%), and atrial fibrillation in 7 (16%).

Not only is rheumatic heart disease a disorder of the cardiac valves, it may also affect mural endocardium, epicardium, and myocardium. The atrial walls virtually always have increased amounts of fibrous tissue in both the myocardial interstitium and in the mural endocardium, atrophy of some and hypertrophy of other myocardial cells, and hypertrophy of smooth muscles in the mural endocardium. In all patients with rheumatic MS, the leaflets are diffusely thickened either by fibrous tissue or calcific deposits or both, the two commissures are usually fused, and the chordae tendineae are usually (but not always) thickened and fused (Figures 13 and 14).


The amount of calcium in the leaflets of stenotic mitral valves varies considerably (Figure 15). Generally, the calcific deposits are more frequent and in larger quantities in men than in women, in older than in younger patients, and in those with higher vs those with lower pressure gradients between the left atrium and left ventricle (Figure 14). The rapidity with which calcium develops also varies considerably: it is present at a younger age in men than in women. Lachman and Roberts (42) determined the presence or absence and the extent of calcific deposits in operatively excised stenotic mitral valves in 164 patients aged 26 to 72 years. The amount of calcific deposits in the stenotic mitral valves correlated with sex and the mean transvalvular pressure gradient (Figure 16), but it did not correlate with the patients' age (after 25 years), cardiac rhythm, pulmonary arterial or pulmonary arterial wedge pressure, previous mitral commissurotomy, presence of thrombus in the body or appendage of left ventricle, or the presence of disease in one or more other cardiac valves. Of the 164 patients, radiographs of the operatively excised valve showed no calcific deposits in 14 and only minimal deposits in 43. Of these 57 patients, however, 37 had moderate or severe MR. The remaining 20 in an earlier era would have been ideal or nearly ideal candidates for mitral commissurotomy (43).



A major complication of MS is thrombus formation in the left atrial cavity. The thrombus may be limited to the atrial appendage (by far most common) or be located in both the appendage and body of the left atrium. Left atrial "body" thrombus was observed in 5% of the 1010 necropsy patients with fatal valvular heart disease studied by Roberts, and all had severe MS (unpublished data). Left atrial "body" thrombus was not found in any of the 165 patients with pure MR. All patients with left atrial "body" thrombus had atrial fibrillation. In contrast, of 46 patients with MS who had cardiotomy at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and had thrombus in the left atrial "body," 42 (91%) had atrial fibrillation and 4 (9%) had sinus rhythm. Thrombus appears to occur in the body of the left atrium only in patients with MS, and atrial fibrillation in the absence of MS is incapable of forming thrombus in the left atrial body.

Calcific deposits on the mural endocardium of the left atrium almost certainly are indicative of previous organization of left atrial thrombi (44). Histologically, the "calcific thrombi" also contain cholesterol clefts and are identical to atherosclerotic plaques. The observation that left atrial thrombi can organize into lesions identical to atherosclerotic plaques supports the view that atherosclerotic plaques may in part be the result of organization of thrombi.


Nonrheumatic causes of MS include congenital anomalies (38, 39); large mitral annular calcific deposits associated with left ventricular outflow obstruction (45, 46) (Figure 17); neoplasms (particularly myxoma) protruding through the mitral orifice (47); large vegetations from active infective endocarditis (48); and of course a mechanical prosthesis or bioprosthesis used to replace a native mitral valve (49).

Histologic examination of sections of stenotic mitral valves when stained for elastic fibers shows the mitral leaflet to have lost most or all of its spongiosa element such that the leaflet itself consists entirely or nearly entirely of the fibrosa element. The leaflet (as are the chordae) is outlined by an elastic fibril (which stains black by an elastic tissue stain), and covering it on both atrial and ventricular aspects is dense fibrous tissue containing focally some vascular channels. Similar dense fibrous tissue surrounds the chordae, and the chordae themselves appear normal.

Patients with MS usually have distinct pulmonary vascular changes secondary to the pulmonary venous and arterial hypertension. These anatomic changes consist of thickening of the media of the muscular and elastic pulmonary arteries and focal intimal fibrous plaques. Plexiform lesions never occur in the lungs as a result of MS. The alveolar septa also thicken due to dilatation of the capillaries, proliferation of lining alveolar cells, and some increase of alveolar septal fibrous tissue.



Pure MR (no element of MS) is the most common dysfunctional cardiac valve disorder, and, in contrast to MS, it has many different causes. If patients with MR due to left ventricular dilatation from any cause (ischemic cardiomyopathy, idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, anemia, etc.) are excluded, the most common cause of MR treated operatively in the Western world today is MVP (Figures 18 and 19). This condition, which was described initially in the 1960s by Barlow and colleagues (50) and by Criley and colleagues (51), is now recognized to occur in approximately 5% of adults, and, if one considers this condition a congenital deficiency of mitral tissues--which we do--it is the most common congenital cardiovascular disease. Among 97 patients having mitral valve replacement for pure MR from 1968 to 1981 at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, MVP was responsible in 60 patients (62%), papillary muscle dysfunction from coronary heart disease in 29 (30%), infective endocarditis in 5 (5%), and possibly rheumatic disease in 3 (3%) (52).



Although several authors have attempted to do so, defining MVP has not been easy (1). The following have proved useful in separating the valve affected by MVP from mitral valves affected by other conditions:

1. Focal lengthening of the posterior and/or anterior mitral leaflets from their site of attachment to their distal margins. Normally, the length of the posterior leaflet from its attachment to distal margin is about 1 cm. In MVP, this leaflet focally is often as long as the anterior leaflet (52).

2. Elongation and thinning of chordae tendineae.

3. Focal thickening of the posterior and/or anterior leaflet. This finding is particularly prominent on the portion of leaflet that prolapses toward or into the left atrium during ventricular systole. The atrial surface is uniformly smooth. The thickening of the leaflet produces a spongy feel.

4. Increase in area, either focally or diffusely, of one or both mitral leaflets (52).

5. Loss of chordae tendineae on the ventricular aspect of the posterior mitral leaflet. It is rare to actually see a ruptured chorda, but what is seen are areas where chordae should be attached but none are there. They presumably ruptured in the past and with time were matted down on the leaflets' ventricular aspect, giving this surface a "bumpy" appearance and feel. Chordae are nearly uniformly missing (previously ruptured) in portions of posterior mitral leaflet excised during mitral valve repair or during replacement. Indeed, MVP appears to be by far the most common cause of ruptured chordae tendineae. Infective endocarditis is the next most frequent cause (53).

6. Dilatation of the mitral annulus. Annular dilatation is probably the major cause of development of severe MR in the presence of MVP (52, 54). (The other is rupture of chordae tendineae.) Normally, the mitral annulus in adults averages about 9 cm in circumference. In patients with left ventricular dilatation from any cause, with or without MR, the mitral circumference usually dilates slightly, usually to about 11 cm or <25% above normal (55). Among patients with MVP associated with severe MR, this annular circumference generally increases >50% to 12 to 18 cm. Acute rupture of chordae tendineae may occur in patients with MVP in the absence of mitral annular dilatation.

7. An increase in the transverse dimension of the mitral leaflets such that the length of the mitral circumference measured on a line corresponding to the distal margin of the posterior leaflet is much larger than the circumference measured at the level of the mitral annulus (52). In the normal mitral valve, the two are the same. It is analogous to a skirt gathered at the waist. The leaflets of the opened normal mitral valve are flat or smooth on the atrial aspect (like the mucosa of the ileum) whereas those of the opened floppy mitral valve are undulating (like those of the duodenum or jejunum).

8. Focal thickening of mural endocardium of the left ventricle behind the posterior mitral leaflet. Salazar and Edwards (56) called these fibrous thickenings "friction lesions" to indicate that they are believed to result from friction between the overlying leaflets and chordae and the underlying left ventricular wall. Lucas and Edwards (57) observed these "friction lesions" in 77 (75%) of 102 necropsy cases of MVP, and Dollar and Roberts (58) found them in 23 (68%) of 34 necropsy cases of MVP.

9. Fibrinous deposits on the atrial surface of the prolapsed portion of mitral leaflet and particularly at the angle formed between the prolapsed leaflet and left atrial wall (mitral valve-left atrial angle). These fibrin deposits may be a source of emboli.

Histologically, the MVP valve is distinctive. Elastic tissue stains reveal that the mitral leaflet and chordae are surrounded by a single thick elastic fibril. The underlying leaflet generally--but not always--contains an excessive amount of the spongiosa element, and this causes the leaflet itself to be a bit thicker than normal. Most of the leaflet thickening, however, is due to superimposed fibrous tissue on both its atrial and ventricular aspects. The covering on the atrial side of the leaflet contains numerous elastic fibrils, whereas that on the ventricular aspect contains few or no elastic fibrils. Often on the ventricular aspect, previously ruptured and now "matted" chordae tendineae are covered by fibrous tissue. The spongiosa element within the leaflet itself appears normal--just increased in amount--and therefore the phrase "mucoid degeneration" appears inappropriate.

Ultrastructural studies of mitral valves grossly characteristic of MVP have disclosed alterations of the collagen fibers in the leaflets and in the chordae tendineae (59). These changes have included fragmentation, splitting, swelling, and course granularity of the individual collagen fibers, and also spiraling and twisting of the fibers. These alterations in the structure of the collagen are probably far more important than the excess acid mucopolysaccharide material in the leaflet in that they lead to focal weakness of the leaflets and chordae and their subsequent elongation. The left ventricular systolic pressure exerted against these weakened areas may account for the prolapse.

Just as the frequency of MVP varies clinically depending on the age and sex group being examined and in the clinical criteria employed for diagnosis (auscultatory, echocardiographic, angiographic), its frequency at necropsy is quite variable and the variation is determined by several factors: 1) age and sex group of the population being examined; 2) type of institution where necropsy is performed (general hospital, referral hospital for cardiovascular disease, or medical examiner's [coroner's] office); 3) expertise in cardiovascular disease of the physician performing the necropsy or reporting the findings; 4) percentage of total deaths having autopsies at the particular hospital; 5) presence or absence of evidence of cardiac disease before death; 6) whether the patient underwent mitral valve replacement or repair; and 7) whether the percentage of patients being examined had a high frequency of the Marfan syndrome, infective endocarditis, atrial septal defect, and so on.

No study shows better how bias alters the finding in necropsy studies than the one performed by Lucas and Edwards (Table 9) (57). These investigators, in one portion of their study, determined the frequency of and complications of floppy mitral valves observed at necropsy in one community (nonreferral) hospital for adults. Of 1376 autopsies performed, 7% or 102 patients had morphologically floppy mitral valves at necropsy. Their mean age at death was 69 [+ or -] 12 years; 62 (61%) were men and 40 (39%) were women. Of the 102 patients, MVP was the cause of death in only four. Of the 102 patients, one leaflet had prolapsed in 34 patients and two leaflets in 68. Only 18 had anatomic evidence of previous MR; 7 had infective endocarditis; 7 had ruptured chordae tendineae (without infection); 1 had the Marfan syndrome; and 3 had secundum atrial septal defect. No patient died suddenly. In contrast, in the other portion of their study, these authors described complications in 69 necropsy patients whose hearts had been sent to Edwards for his opinion and interest. Among these 69 patients, 16 (23%) had died suddenly and unexpectedly; 19 (28%) had ruptured chordae tendineae (without infection); 7 (10%) had infective endocarditis; 20 (29%) had the Marfan syndrome; and 9 (13%) had secundum-type atrial septal defect. Thus, in contrast to their infrequency in their community hospital series, most cases submitted to their cardiovascular registry from other institutions had ruptured chordae, infective endocarditis, sudden unexpected and unexplained death, or the Marfan syndrome.

The earlier studies by Pomerance (60) and by Davies and colleagues (61) can also be compared to the community hospital series of Lucas and Edwards (57) (Table 9). The study by Dollar and Roberts (58) is comparable to the study of Lucas and Edwards and their selected cases. These authors studied at necropsy 56 patients, aged 16 to 70 years (mean, 48), and compared findings in the 15 who died suddenly and unexpectedly with the other 41 who did not. Compared with the 34 patients without associated congenital heart disease and with non-MVP conditions capable in themselves of being fatal, the 15 patients who died suddenly with isolated MVP were younger (mean age, 39 vs 52 years), were more often women (67% vs 26%), had a lower frequency of MR (7% vs 38%), and were less likely to have ruptured chordae tendineae (29% vs 67%).


The frequency of atrial fibrillation is different in patients with MVP and those with MS immediately before a mitral valve replacement or "repair." Among 246 patients aged 21 to 84 years (mean, 61; men, 66%) who had mitral valve repair or replacement for MR secondary to MVP, Berbarie and Roberts (62) found only 37 patients (15%) (mean age, 60) with atrial fibrillation and 209 patients (88%) with sinus rhythm. In contrast, of 104 patients aged 33 to 80 years (12% men) with rheumatic MS severe enough or symptomatic enough to warrant mitral valve replacement, Sims and Roberts (63) found atrial fibrillation by electrocardiogram immediately preoperatively in 47 (45%) and sinus rhythm in 57 (55%).

Other causes of pure mitral regurgitation

Cleft anterior mitral leaflet. Partial atrioventricular "defect" includes a spectrum of five anatomic anomalies (64). Some patients have all five and others have only one or two. The five are the following: 1) defect in the lowermost portion of the atrial septum, so-called primum atrial septal defect; 2) defect in, or absence of, the posterobasal portion of the ventricular septum; 3) cleft anterior mitral leaflet; 4) anomalous chordae tendineae from the anterior mitral leaflet to the crest of the ventricular septum; and 5) partial or complete absence of the septal tricuspid valve leaflet. There are at least four potential functional consequences of these five anatomic anomalies: 1) shunt at the atrial level, 2) shunt at the ventricular level, 3) MR, and 4) obstruction to left ventricular outflow. Well over 95% of patients with partial atrioventricular defect have a primum-type atrial septal defect, and most of those without a primum defect have a shunt at the ventricular level. The occurrence of MR from a cleft in the anterior mitral leaflet unassociated with a defect in either atrial or ventricular septa is rare, but such has been the case in several reported patients (65).

Left-sided atrioventricular valve regurgitation associated with corrected transposition of the great arteries. Corrected transposition is an entity that has produced much confusion (66, 67). Corrected transposition and complete transposition are quite different; the only thing they have in common is the word "transposition." Complete transposition is essentially one defect: the great arteries are transposed, so that the aorta arises from the right ventricle and the pulmonary trunk from the left ventricle. In corrected transposition, the great arteries also are transposed, but in addition, the ventricles, atrioventricular valves, epicardial coronary arteries, and conduction system are inverted. Patients with complete transposition die because they have inadequate communications between the two circuits. Patients with corrected transposition theoretically should be able to live a full lifespan, but usually this is not the case because associated defects--namely, ventricular septal defect or regurgitation of the left-sided atrioventricular valve or both--cause the heart to function abnormally. The left-sided valve anatomically is a tricuspid valve (in the case of the situs solitus heart), and its most frequent abnormality is the Ebstein-type abnormality (Figure 20). Although most patients with corrected transposition present with excessive pulmonary blood flow because of the left-to-right shunt via the ventricular septal defect, an occasional patient with corrected

transposition has no defect in the cardiac septa and has evidence of pure "MR," occasionally mistaken for other causes of MR (68).


Infective endocarditis. The most common cardiac valve affected by infective endocarditis is the aortic valve, and the mitral valve is most commonly affected by vegetations growing down the anterior mitral leaflet from the regurgitant aortic valve causing mitral leaflet damage and chordal rupture (69, 70). Infection isolated to the mitral valve is far less common, and when this situation occurs the vegetations are on the atrial aspects of the mitral leaflets (71).

Coronary heart disease. The MR in patients with coronary heart disease is due to myocardial infarction, which may acutely cause necrosis of one or more left ventricular papillary muscles (usually the posteromedial one) with or without rupture of the entire muscle or, far more commonly, rupture of a portion of the "tip" of the papillary muscle (38, 72, 73) (Figure 21). Rupture, either partial or complete, of a papillary muscle during acute myocardial infarction is a far less common cause of acute MR than is necrosis of a papillary muscle and the free wall beneath it. When it occurs late after acute myocardial infarction, the MR is usually the result of dilatation of the left ventricular cavity and severe scarring of a papillary muscle, which tends to pull the mitral leaflets laterally, preventing proper coaptation of the two mitral leaflets during ventricular systole.

Cardiomyopathy. Most patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (74), ischemic cardiomyopathy (75, 76), and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (77) have MR at some time in their course. The first two conditions of course are associated with dilatation of the left ventricular cavity primarily in a lateral or right-to-left direction--not in a caudal-cephalad direction--and the consequence is abnormal papillary muscle "pull" on the mitral leaflets during ventricular systole with resulting incomplete coaptation of the mitral leaflets. Evidence that mitral annular dilatation is the prime cause of MR in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy is lacking (55). The cause of MR in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is entirely different from that in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy and results at least in part in anterior movement of the anterior mitral leaflet toward the ventricular septum during ventricular systole (77). Patients with chronic anemia, e.g., sickle cell anemia, usually also have MR from papillary muscle fibrosis and left ventricular cavity dilatation (78).

(1.) Roberts WC. Congenital cardiovascular abnormalities usually silent until adulthood. In Roberts WC, ed. Adult Congenital Heart Disease. Philadelphia: FA Davis, 1987:631-691.

(2.) Sprecher DL, Schaefer EJ, Kent KM, Gregg RE, Zech LA, Hoeg JM, McManus B, Roberts WC, Brewer HB Jr. Cardiovascular features of homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia: analysis of 16 patients. Am J Cardiol 1984;54(1):20-30.

(3.) Moura LM, Ramos SF, Zamorano JL, Barros IM, Azevedo LF, Rocha-Goncalves F, Rajamannan NM. Rosuvastatin affecting aortic valve endothelium to slow the progression of aortic stenosis. J Am Coll Cardiol 2007;49(5):554-561.

(4.) Roberts WC, Perloff JK, Costantino T. Severe valvular aortic stenosis in patients over 65 years of age. A clinicopathologic study. Am J Cardiol 1971;27(5):497-506.

(5.) Stephan PJ, Henry AC 3rd, Hebeler RF Jr, Whiddon L, Roberts WC. Comparison of age, gender, number of aortic valve cusps, concomitant coronary artery bypass grafting, and magnitude of left ventricular-systemic arterial peak systolic gradient in adults having aortic valve replacement for isolated aortic valve stenosis. Am J Cardiol 1997;79(2):166-172.

(6.) Roberts WC, Morrow AG. Congenital aortic stenosis produced by a unicommissural valve. Br Heart J 1965;27:505-510.

(7.) Falcone MW, Roberts WC, Morrow AG, Perloff JK. Congenital aortic stenosis resulting from a unicommissural valve. Clinical and anatomic features in twenty-one adult patients. Circulation 1971;44(2):272-280.

(8.) Roberts WC. The congenitally bicuspid aortic valve. A study of 85 autopsy cases. Am J Cardiol 1970;26(1):72-83.

(9.) Roberts WC. Anatomically isolated aortic valvular disease. The case against its being of rheumatic etiology. Am J Med 1970;49(2):151-159.

(10.) Roberts WC, Ko JM. Clinical and morphologic features of the congenitally unicuspid acommissural stenotic and regurgitant aortic valve. Cardiology 2007;108(2):79-81.

(11.) Roberts WC. The senile cardiac calcification syndrome. Am J Cardiol 1986;58(6):572-574.

(12.) Hurwitz LE, Roberts WC. Quadricuspid semilunar valve. Am J Cardiol 1973;31(5):623-626.

(13.) Roberts WC, Ko JM, Filardo G, Henry AC, Hebeler RF Jr, Cheung EH, Matter GJ, Hamman BL. Valve structure and survival in sexagenarians having aortic valve replacement for aortic stenosis ([+ or -] aortic regurgitation) with versus without coronary artery bypass grafting at a single US medical center (1993 to 2005). Am J Cardiol 2007;100(8):1286-1292.

(14.) Roberts WC, Ko JM. Weights of operatively-excised stenotic unicuspid, bicuspid, and tricuspid aortic valves and their relation to age, sex, body mass index, and presence or absence of concomitant coronary artery bypass grafting. Am J Cardiol 2003;92(9):1057-1065.

(15.) Roberts WC, Ko JM. Weights of individual cusps in operatively-excised congenitally bicuspid stenotic aortic valves. Am J Cardiol 2004;94(5):678-681.

(16.) Roberts WC, Ko JM. Weights of individual cusps in operatively-excised stenotic three-cuspid aortic valves. Am J Cardiol 2004;94(5):681-684.

(17.) Roberts WC, Ko JM. Relation of weights of operatively excised stenotic aortic valves to preoperative transvalvular peak systolic pressure gradients and to calculated aortic valve areas. J Am Coll Cardiol 2004;44(9):1847-1855.

(18.) Roberts WC, Ko JM. Frequency by decades of unicuspid, bicuspid, and tricuspid aortic valves in adults having isolated aortic valve replacement for aortic stenosis, with or without associated aortic regurgitation. Circulation 2005;111(7):920-925.

(19.) Roberts WC, Ko JM, Matter GJ. Isolated aortic valve replacement without coronary bypass for aortic valve stenosis involving a congenitally bicuspid aortic valve in a nonagenarian. Am J Geriatr Cardiol 2006;15(6):389-391.

(20.) Roberts WC, Ko JM, Garner WL, Filardo G, Henry AC, Hebeler RF Jr, Matter GJ, Hamman BL. Valve structure and survival in octogenarians having aortic valve replacement for aortic stenosis ([+ or -] aortic regurgitation) with versus without coronary artery bypass grafting at a single US medical center (1993 to 2005). Am J Cardiol 2007;100(3):489-495.

(21.) Roberts WC, Ko JM, Filardo G, Henry AC, Hebeler RF Jr, Cheung EH, Matter GJ, Hamman BL. Valve structure and survival in septuagenarians having aortic valve replacement for aortic stenosis ([+ or -] aortic regurgitation) with versus without coronary artery bypass grafting at a single US medical center (1993 to 2005). Am J Cardiol 2007;100(7):1157-1165.

(22.) Roberts WC, Ko JM, Hamilton C. Comparison of valve structure, valve weight, and severity of the valve obstruction in 1849 patients having isolated aortic valve replacement for aortic valve stenosis (with or without associated aortic regurgitation) studied at 3 different medical centers in 2 different time periods. Circulation 2005;112(25):3919-3929.

(23.) Roberts WC, Ko JM, Filardo G, Henry AC, Hebeler RF Jr, Cheung EH, Matter GJ, Hamman BL. Valve structure and survival in quinquagenarians having aortic valve replacement for aortic stenosis ([+ or -] aortic regurgitation) with versus without coronary artery bypass grafting at a single US medical center (1993 to 2005). Am J Cardiol 2007;100(10):1584-1591.

(24.) Roberts WC, Ko JM, Filardo G, Kitchens BL, Henry AC, Hebeler RF Jr, Cheung EH, Matter GJ, Hamman BL. Valve structure and survival in quadragenarians having aortic valve replacement for aortic stenosis ([+ or -] aortic regurgitation) with versus without coronary artery bypass grafting at a single US medical center (1993 to 2005). Am J Cardiol 2007;100(11):1683-1690.

(25.) Roberts WC, Ko JM, Moore TR, Jones WH 3rd. Causes of pure aortic regurgitation in patients having isolated aortic valve replacement at a single US tertiary hospital (1993 to 2005). Circulation 2006;114(5):422-429.

(26.) Roberts WC. The structure of the aortic valve in clinically isolated aortic stenosis: an autopsy study of 162 patients over 15 years of age. Circulation 1970;42(1):91-97.

(27.) Roberts WC, Morrow AG, McIntosh CL, Jones M, Epstein SE. Congenitally bicuspid aortic valve causing severe, pure aortic regurgitation without superimposed infective endocarditis. Analysis of 13 patients requiring aortic valve replacement. Am J Cardiol 1981;47(2):206-209.

(28.) Roberts WC, Oluwole BO, Fernicola DJ. Comparison of active infective endocarditis involving a previously stenotic versus a previously nonstenotic aortic valve. Am J Cardiol 1993;71(12):1082-1088.

(29.) Carpenter DF, Golden A, Roberts WC. Quadrivalvular rheumatoid heart disease associated with left bundle branch block. Am J Med 1967;43(6):922-929.

(30.) Roberts WC, Kehoe JA, Carpenter DF, Golden A. Cardiac valvular lesions in rheumatoid arthritis. Arch Intern Med 1968;122(2):141-146.

(31.) Waller BF, Zoltick JM, Rosen JH, Katz NM, Gomes MN, Fletcher RD, Wallace RB, Roberts WC. Severe aortic regurgitation from systemic hypertension (without aortic dissection) requiring aortic valve replacement: analysis of four patients. Am J Cardiol 1982;49(2):473-477.

(32.) Waller BF, Kishel JC, Roberts WC. Severe aortic regurgitation from systemic hypertension. Chest 1982;82(3):365-368.

(33.) Roberts WC. Aortic dissection: anatomy, consequences, and causes. Am Heart J 1981;101(2):195-214.

(34.) Roberts WC, Dangel JC, Bulkley BH. Nonrheumatic valvular cardiac disease: a clinicopathologic survey of 27 different conditions causing valvular dysfunction. Cardiovasc Clin 1973;5(2):333-446.

(35.) Roberts WC, Honig HS. The spectrum of cardiovascular disease in the Marfan syndrome: a clinico-morphologic study of 18 necropsy patients and comparison to 151 previously reported necropsy patients. Am Heart J 1982;104(1):115-135.

(36.) Bulkley BH, Roberts WC. Ankylosing spondylitis and aortic regurgitation. Description of the characteristic cardiovascular lesion from study of eight necropsy patients. Circulation 1973;48(5):1014-1027.

(37.) Roberts WC, Hollingsworth JF, Bulkley BH, Jaffe RB, Epstein SE, Stinson EB. Combined mitral and aortic regurgitation in ankylosing spondylitis. Angiographic and anatomic features. Am J Med 1974;56(2):237-243.

(38.) Roberts WC, Perloff JK. Mitral valvular disease. A clinicopathologic survey of the conditions causing the mitral valve to function abnormally. Ann Intern Med 1972;77(6):939-975.

(39.) Roberts WC. Morphologic features of the normal and abnormal mitral valve. Am J Cardiol 1983;51(6):1005-1028.

(40.) Roberts WC, Virmani R. Aschoff bodies at necropsy in valvular heart disease. Evidence from an analysis of 543 patients over 14 years of age that rheumatic heart disease, at least anatomically, is a disease of the mitral valve. Circulation 1978;57(4):803-807.

(41.) Virmani R, Roberts WC. Aschoff bodies in operatively excised atrial appendages and in papillary muscles. Frequency and clinical significance. Circulation 1977;55(4):559-563.

(42.) Lachman AS, Roberts WC. Calcific deposits in stenotic mitral valves. Extent and relation to age, sex, degree of stenosis, cardiac rhythm, previous commissurotomy and left atrial body thrombus from study of 164 operatively-excised valves. Circulation 1978;57(4):808-815.

(43.) Roberts WC, Lachman AS. Mitral valve commissurotomy versus replacement. Considerations based on examination of operatively excised stenotic mitral valves. Am Heart J 1979;98(1):56-62.

(44.) Roberts WC, Humphries JO, Morrow AG. Giant right atrium in rheumatic mitral stenosis. Atrial enlargement restricted by mural calcification. Am Heart J 1970;79(1):28-35.

(45.) Hammer WJ, Roberts WC, deLeon AC. "Mitral stenosis" secondary to combined "massive" mitral anular calcific deposits and small, hypertrophied left ventricles. Hemodynamic documentation in four patients. Am J Med 1978;64(3):371-376.

(46.) Theleman KP, Grayburn PA, Roberts WC. Mitral "annular" calcium forming a complete circle "O" causing mitral stenosis in association with a stenotic congenitally bicuspid aortic valve and severe coronary artery disease. Am J Geriatr Cardiol 2006;15(1):58-61.

(47.) Roberts WC. Neoplasms involving the heart, their simulators, and adverse consequences of their therapy. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent) 2001;14(4):358-376.

(48.) Roberts WC, Ewy GA, Glancy DL, Marcus FI. Valvular stenosis produced by active infective endocarditis. Circulation 1967;36(3):449-451.

(49.) Roberts WC, Bulkley BH, Morrow AG. Pathologic anatomy of cardiac valve replacement: a study of 224 necropsy patients. Prog Cardiovasc Dis 1973;15(6):539-587.

(50.) Barlow JB, Pocock WA, Marchand P, Denny M. The significance of late systolic murmurs. Am Heart J 1963;66:443-452.

(51.) Criley JM, Lewis KB, Humphries JO, Ross RS. Prolapse of the mitral valve: clinical and cine-angiocardiographic findings. Br Heart J 1966;28(4):488-496.

(52.) Waller BF, Morrow AG, Maron BJ, Del Negro AA, Kent KM, McGrath FJ, Wallace RB, McIntosh CL, Roberts WC. Etiology of clinically isolated, severe, chronic, pure mitral regurgitation: analysis of 97 patients over 30 years of age having mitral valve replacement. Am Heart J 1982;104(2 Pt 1):276-288.

(53.) Roberts WC, Braunwald E, Morrow AG. Acute severe mitral regurgitation secondary to ruptured chordae tendineae: clinical, hemodynamic, and pathologic considerations. Circulation 1966;33(1):58-70.

(54.) Roberts WC, McIntosh CL, Wallace RB. Mechanisms of severe mitral regurgitation in mitral valve prolapse determined from analysis of operatively excised valves. Am Heart J 1987;113(5):1316-1323.

(55.) Bulkley BH, Roberts WC. Dilatation of the mitral anulus. A rare cause of mitral regurgitation. Am J Med 1975;59(4):457-463.

(56.) Salazar AE, Edwards JE. Friction lesions of ventricular endocardium. Relation to chordae tendineae of mitral valve. Arch Pathol 1970;90(4):364-376.

(57.) Lucas RV Jr, Edwards JE. The floppy mitral valve. Curr Probl Cardiol 1982;7(4):1-48.

(58.) Dollar AL, Roberts WC. Morphologic comparison of patients with mitral valve prolapse who died suddenly with patients who died from severe valvular dysfunction or other conditions. J Am Coll Cardiol 1991;17(4):921-931.

(59.) Renteria VG, Ferrans VJ, Jones M, Roberts WC. Intracellular collagen fibrils in prolapsed ("floppy") human atrioventricular valves. Lab Invest 1976;35(5):439-443.

(60.) Pomerance A. Ballooning deformity (mucoid degeneration) of atrioventricular valves. Br Heart J 1969;31(3):343-351.

(61.) Davies MJ, Moore BP, Braimbridge MV. The floppy mitral valve. Study of incidence, pathology, and complications in surgical, necropsy, and forensic material. Br Heart J 1978;40(5):468-481.

(62.) Berbarie RF, Roberts WC. Frequency of atrial fibrillation in patients having mitral valve repair or replacement for pure mitral regurgitation secondary to mitral valve prolapse. Am J Cardiol 2006;97(7):1039-1044.

(63.) Sims JB, Roberts WC. Comparison of findings in patients with versus without atrial fibrillation just before isolated mitral valve replacement for rheumatic mitral stenosis (with or without associated mitral regurgitation). Am J Cardiol 2006;97(7):1035-1038.

(64.) Braunwald E, Ross RS, Morrow AG, Roberts WC. Differential diagnosis of mitral regurgitation in childhood: clinical pathological conference at the National Institutes of Health. Ann Intern Med 1961;54:223-242.

(65.) Barth CW 3rd, Dibdin JD, Roberts WC. Mitral valve cleft without cardiac septal defect causing severe mitral regurgitation but allowing long survival. Am J Cardiol 1985;55(9):1229-1231.

(66.) Schiebler GL, Edwards JE, Burchell HB, Dushane JW, Ongley PA, Wood EH. Congenital corrected transposition of the great vessels: a study of 33 cases. Pediatrics 1961;27(5 Suppl):849-888.

(67.) Berry WB, Roberts WC, Morrow AG, Braunwald E. Corrected transposition of the aorta and pulmonary trunk: clinical, hemodynamic and pathologic findings. Am J Med 1964;36:35-53.

(68.) Roberts WC, Ross RS, Davis FW Jr. Congenital corrected transposition of the great vessels in adulthood simulating rheumatic valvular disease. Bull Johns Hopkins Hosp 1964;114:157-172.

(69.) Buchbinder NA, Roberts WC. Left-sided valvular active infective endocarditis. A study of forty-five necropsy patients. Am J Med 1972;53(1):20-35.

(70.) Arnett EN, Roberts WC. Active infective endocarditis: a clinicopathologic analysis of 137 necropsy patients. Curr Probl Cardiol 1976;1(7):2-76.

(71.) Fernicola DJ, Roberts WC. Clinicopathologic features of active infective endocarditis isolated to the native mitral valve. Am J Cardiol 1993;71(13):1186-1197.

(72.) Morrow AG, Cohen LS, Roberts WC, Braunwald NS, Braunwald E. Severe mitral regurgitation following acute myocardial infarction and ruptured papillary muscle. Hemodynamic findings and results of operative treatment in four patients. Circulation 1968;37(4 Suppl):II124-II132.

(73.) Barbour DJ, Roberts WC. Rupture of a left ventricular papillary muscle during acute myocardial infarction: analysis of 22 necropsy patients. J Am Coll Cardiol 1986;8(3):558-565.

(74.) Roberts WC, Siegel RJ, McManus BM. Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy: analysis of 152 necropsy patients. Am J Cardiol 1987;60(16):1340-1355.

(75.) Virmani R, Roberts WC. Quantification of coronary arterial narrowing and of left ventricular myocardial scarring in healed myocardial infarction with chronic, eventually fatal, congestive cardiac failure. Am J Med 1980;68(6):831-838.

(76.) Ross EM, Roberts WC. Severe atherosclerotic coronary arterial narrowing and chronic congestive heart failure without myocardial infarction: analysis of 18 patients studied at necropsy. Am J Cardiol 1986;57(1):51-56.

(77.) Klues HG, Maron BJ, Dollar AL, Roberts WC. Diversity of structural mitral valve alterations in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Circulation 1992;85(5):1651-1660.

(78.) Berezowski K, Mautner GC, Roberts WC. Scarring of the left ventricular papillary muscles in sickle-cell disease. Am J Cardiol 1992;70(15):1368-1370.

William Clifford Roberts, MD, and Jong Mi Ko, BA

From the Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute and the Departments of Pathology and Medicine (Cardiology), Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, Texas.

corresponding author: William C. Roberts, MD, Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute, Baylor University Medical Center, 621 North Hall Street, Dallas, Texas 75226 (e-mail:
Table 1. Functional and anatomic classification of valvular
heart disease in 1010 necropsy patients aged [greater than or equal
to] 15 years *


Functional class Patients (%) AV

1. Aortic stenosis (AS) 292 (29%) 256 (88%)
2. Mitral stenosis (MS) 189 (19%) 0
3. MS + AS 152 (15%) 0
4. Aortic regurgitation (AR)
 ([dagger]) 119 (12%) 107 (90%)
5. Mitral regurgitation (MR) 97 (10%) 0
6. MS + AR 65 (6%) 0
7. MR +AR 45 (4%) 0
8. AS + MR 23 (2%) 0
9. Tricuspid stenosis + MS
 [+ or -] AS 28 (3%) 0

Totals 1010(100%) 363 (36%)
 ([double dagger])

 Anatomic class

Functional class MV MV-AV

1. Aortic stenosis (AS) 0 35 (12%)
2. Mitral stenosis (MS) 117 (62%) 40 (21%)
3. MS + AS 0 120 (79%)
4. Aortic regurgitation (AR)
 ([dagger]) 0 10 (8%)
5. Mitral regurgitation (MR) 85 (88%) 8 (8%)
6. MS + AR 52 (80%) 0
7. MR +AR 0 39 (87%)
8. AS + MR 0 21 (91%)
9. Tricuspid stenosis + MS
 [+ or -] AS 0 0

Totals 254 (25%) 273 (27%)

 Anatomic class

Functional class TV-MV TV-MV-AV

1. Aortic stenosis (AS) 0 1 (0.3%)
2. Mitral stenosis (MS) 13 (7%) 19 (10%)
3. MS + AS 0 32 (21%)
4. Aortic regurgitation (AR)
 ([dagger]) 0 2 (2%)
5. Mitral regurgitation (MR) 1 (1%) 3 (3%)
6. MS + AR 0 13 (20%)
7. MR +AR 0 6 (13%)
8. AS + MR 0 2 (9%)
9. Tricuspid stenosis + MS
 [+ or -] AS 4 (14%) 24 (86%)
Totals 18 (2%) 102 (10%)

* Excludes patients with mitral regurgitation secondary to coronary
heart disease (papillary muscle dysfunction), carcinoid heart disease,
hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and those with infective endocarditis
limited to one or both right-sided cardiac valves. Tricuspid valve
regurgitation was present in many patients in most of the nine
functional groups. All patients were in functional class III or IV
(New York Heart Association), and more than half had one or more
cardiac operations.

([dagger]) in many patients, the aortic valve cusps were normal or
nearly normal and the regurgitation was the result of disease of the
aorta (the Marfan and Marfan-like syndrome, syphilis, systemic
hypertension, healed aortic dissection).

([double dagger]) The hearts in all 1010 patients were examined and
classified by WCR.

From Roberts WC, 1987 (1); reproduced with permission from Roberts WC,
1983 (39).

AV indicates aortic valve; MV, mitral valve; TV, tricuspid valve.

Table 2. Type of valvular dysfunction in patients * having aortic
valve replacement and/or mitral valve replacement or repair at
Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas (1993-2006)

Valve dysfunction Patients (%)

1. Aortic stenosis (AS) 985 (39%)
2. Mitral stenosis (MS) 129 (7%)
3. MS + AS 54 (3%)
4. Aortic regurgitation (AR) ([dagger]) 326 (17%)
5. Mitral regurgitation (MR) * 313 (17%)
6. MS + AR 10 (<1%)
7. M R + AR 28 (1%)
8. AS + MR 27 (1%)
9. Tricuspid stenosis + MS + AS 0

Totals 1872 (100%) ([double dagger])

* Excludes patients with mitral regurgitation secondary to coronary
heart disease (papillary muscle dysfunction), carcinoid heart disease,
hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and those with infective endocarditis
limited to one or both right-sided cardiac valves. Tricuspid valve
regurgitation was present in many patients in most of the nine
functional groups.

([dagger]) In many patients, the aortic valve cusps were
normal or nearly normal and the regurgitation was the result of
disease of the aorta (the Marfan and Marfan-like syndrome, syphilis;
systemic hypertension, healed aortic dissection).

([double dagger]) The operatively excised valves in the 1872 patients
were examined and classified by WCR.

Table 3. Findings at necropsy in unoperated isolated
aortic valve stenosis in men vs women (n = 192)

Variable Men (n = 139) Women (n = 53)

Age (years): range (mean) 16-99 (61) 32-90 (71)

Symptomatic 103/129 (80%) 41/49 (84%)
Total cholesterol (mg/dL) 206 [+ or -] 63 161 [+ or -] 26
Severity of stenosis
 1+ 24 (18%) 7 (13%)
 2+ 22 (16%) 9 (17%)
 3+ 93 (67%) 37 (70%)
Coronary narrowing
 0 73 (53%) 20 (38%)
 [greater than or equal to] 1 66 (47%) 33 (62%)
Mitral annular calcium
 0 101 (73)% 23 (43%)
 1+-3+ 38 (27%) 30 (57%)
Heart weight (g) 610 [+ or -] 135 486 [+ or -] 111
Aortic valve
 Unicuspid 16 (12%)} 59% 1 (2%)} 45%
 Bicuspid 66 (47%)} 23(43%)}
 Tricuspid 57 (41%) 29 (55%)
Left ventricular
 Fibrosis 57 (41%) 13 (25%)
 Necrosis 13 (9%) 5 (9%)

Table 4. Underlying structure of the aortic valve in unoperated
patients studied at necropsy with isolated aortic valve stenosis
with or without associated aortic regurgitation (n = 192)

 Unicuspid Bicuspid Tricuspid
 (n =17) (n = 89) (n = 86)
Variable [9%] [46%] [45%]

Age (years): range (mean) 25-73 (46) 16-87 (62) 36-99 (64)
Males 16 (94%) 66 (74%) 57 (66%)
Symptomatic 15 (88%) 73/84 (87%) 57/78 (73%)
Total cholesterol (mg/dL) 216 203 173
Mode of death
 Sudden (outside hospital) 1 (6%) 15 (17%) 11 (13%)
 Sudden (inside hospital) 1 (6%) 13 (15%) 6 (7%)
 Nonsudden (cardiac) 14 (82%) 47 (53%) 45 (52%)
 Vascular 0 2 (2%) 4 (5%)
 Noncardiovascular 1 (6%) 12 (14%) 20 (23%)
Severity of stenosis
 1+ 1 (6%) 11 (12%) 19 (22%)
 2+ 0 14 (16%) 17 (20%)
 3+ 16 (94%) 64 (72%) 50 (58%)
Coronary narrowing
 0 15 (88%) 57 (64%) 41 (48%)
 [greater than or equal to] 1 2 (12%) 32 (36%) 45 (52%)
Mitral annular calcium
 0 12 (71%) 72 (81%) 40 (47%)
 1+-3+ 5 (29%) 17 (19%) 46 (53%)
Heart weight (g) (mean) 617 578 573
Left ventricular
 Fibrosis 8/15 (53%) 34/88 (39%) 28/85 (33%)
 Necrosis 1/16 (6%) 8/87 (9%) 9/85 (11%)

Table 5. Data in patients having isolated aortic valve
replacement for aortic stenosis ([+ or -] aortic regurgitation)
at three different medical centers

Variable NIH (1963-1989)

Valve structure

 Men 84/342 (25%)
 Women 14/110 (13%)
 Men 158/342 (46%)
 Women 53/110 (48%)
 Men 47/342 (14%)
 Women 28/110 (25%)
 Men 53/342 (15%)
 Women 15/110 (14%)

Age (years): range (mean [+ or -] SD)
Men 21-82 (54 [+ or -] 12)
Men [greater than or
 equal to] 65 62/331 (19%)
Women 33-86 (57 [+ or -] 11)
[great than or equal to] 65 27/104 (26%)

Men 342/452 (76%)
Women 110/452 (24%)

Aortic valve weight (g): range (mean [+ or -] SD)
Men 0.70-10.2
 (4.05 [+ or -] 1.91)
Women 0.55-5.50
 (2.80 [+ or -] 1.26)

Left ventricular to aortic peak systolic gradient (mm Hg):
range (mean [+ or -] SD)
Men 10-145 (69 [+ or -] 30)
Women 10-165 (76 [+ or -] 34)

Aortic valve area ([cm.sup.2]): range (mean [+ or -] SD)
Men 0.20-1.90
 (0.66 [+ or -0] 0.32)
Women 0.23-1.10
 (0.53 [+ or -] 0.21)

Cardiac index (L/min/[m.sup.2]): range (mean [+ or -] SD)
Men 1.10-5.00
 (2.58 [+ or -0] 0.72)
Women 1.60-4.50
 (2.68 [+ or -0] 0.69)

Simultaneous coronary bypass
Men 21/238 (9%)
Women 6/74 (8%)

Variable GUMC (1969-1992)

Valve structure

 Men 56/255 (22%)
 Women 24/145 (17%)
 Men 129/255 (50%)
 Women 68/145 (47%)
 Men 63/255 (25%)
 Women 48/145 (33%)
 Men 7/255(3%)
 Women 5/145(3%)

Age (years): range (mean [+ or -] SD)
Men 24-88 (64 [+ or -] 11)
Men [greater than or
 equal to] 65 124/251 (49%)
Women 22-89 (67 [+ or -] 12)
[great than or equal to] 65 94/142 (66%)

Men 255/400 (64%)
Women 145/400 (36%)

Aortic valve weight (g): range (mean [+ or -] SD)
Men 1.20-11.0
 (4.36 [+ or -] 1.83)
Women 0.40-6.70
 (3.02 [+ or -] 1.26)

Left ventricular to aortic peak systolic gradient (mm Hg):
range (mean [+ or -] SD)
Men 10-160 (69 [+ or -] 25)
Women 30-170 (81 [+ or -] 32)

Aortic valve area ([cm.sup.2]): range (mean [+ or -] SD)
Men 0.27-1.97
 (0.75 [+ or -] 0.31)
Women 0.20-1.30
 (0.57 [+ or -] 0.21)

Cardiac index (L/min/[m.sup.2]): range (mean [+ or -] SD)
Men 1.00-7.30
 (2.87 [+ or -] 0.93)
Women 1.60-6.20
 (2.79 [+ or -] 0.81)

Simultaneous coronary bypass
Men 77/198 (39%)
Women 29/118 (25%)

Variable BUMC (1993-2004)

Valve structure

 Men 36/601 (6%)
 Women 12/356 (4%)
 Men 316/601 (53%)
 Women 153/356 (43%)
 Men 242/601 (40%)
 Women 186/356 (52%)
 Men 7/601 (1%)
 Women 5/356 (1%)

Age (years): range (mean [+ or -] SD)
Men 25-91 (69 [+ or -] 12)
Men [greater than or
 equal to] 65 424/601 (71%)
Women 27-91 (70 [+ or -] 11)
[great than or equal to] 65 273/356 (77%)

Men 601/957 (63%)
Women 356/957 (37%)

Aortic valve weight (g): range (mean [+ or -] SD)
Men 0.89-11.30
 (3.11 [+ or -] 1.51)
Women 0.45-4.97
 (1.89 [+ or -] 0.87)

Left ventricular to aortic peak systolic gradient (mm Hg):
range (mean [+ or -] SD)
Men 10-141 (52 [+ or -] 23)
Women 10-133 (54 [+ or -] 28)

Aortic valve area ([cm.sup.2]): range (mean [+ or -] SD)
Men 0.20-1.90
 (0.78 [+ or -] 0.26)
Women 0.18-1.49
 (0.67 [+ or -] 0.22)

Cardiac index (L/min/[m.sup.2]): range (mean [+ or -] SD)
Men --

Women --

Simultaneous coronary bypass
Men 332/601 (55%)
Women 167/356 (47%)

Reproduced with permission from Roberts WC et al, 2005 (22).

BUMC indicates Baylor University Medical Center; GUMC, Georgetown
University Medical Center; NIH, National Institutes of Health.

Table 6. Age, body mass index, concomitant coronary artery bypass,
left ventricular to aortic peak systolic gradients, and aortic valve
areas in seven aortic valve weight groups in men and in women

AV Age (years):
weight No. of range
(g) patients (average)

[less than or equal to] 1 0 --
>1-2 41 47-90 (72)

>2-3 60 29-87 (69)

>3-4 50 37-84 (69)

>4-5 29 42-87 (69)

>5-6 12 49-90 (70)

6 9 38-84 (58)

[less than or equal to] 1 10 55-85 (74)

>1-2 73 19-88 (71)

>2-3 29 30-87 (70)

>3-4 10 47-85 (73)

>4-5 1 83
>5-6 0 --
6 0 --

AV (kg/[m.sup.2]: AV weights
weight range (g): range
(g) (average) (average)

[less than or equal to] 1 -- --
>1-2 19-37 1.16-2.00
 (27) (1.64)
>2-3 20-43 2.01-3.00
 (29) (2.58)
>3-4 17-40 3.03-4.00
 (27) (3.40)
>4-5 18-45 4.01-4.84
 (28) (4.40)
>5-6 24-36 5.03-5.93
 (28) (5.60)
6 21-38 6.24-11.30
 (28) (7.92)

[less than or equal to] 1 21-44 0.69-0.95
 (30) (0.83)
>1-2 17-51 1.02-1.99
 (29) (1.46)
>2-3 18-50 2.04-3.00
 (28) (2.42)
>3-4 17-35 3.14-4.00
 (26) (3.42)
>4-5 29 4.27
>5-6 -- --
6 -- --

AV PSG (mm AV area
weight Hg): range ([cm.sup.2]):
(g) (average) range (mean)

[less than or equal to] 1 -- --
>1-2 11-81 (36) 0.27-1.43 (0.86)

>2-3 15-97 (45) 0.42-2.25 (0.89)

>3-4 20-100 (56) 0.20-1.63 (0.75)

>4-5 20-108 (64) 0.32-1.06 (0.67)

>5-6 50-116 (71) 0.40-0.88 (0.60)

6 35-141 (87) 0.39-1.23 (0.71)

[less than or equal to] 1 15-62 (28) 0.34-1.28 (0.83)

>1-2 10-119 (49) 0.18-1.49 (0.72)

>2-3 26-113 (63) 0.27-1.09 (0.58)

>3-4 53-131 (85) 0.23-0.78 (0.51)

>4-5 53 0.75
>5-6 -- --
6 -- --

weight Coronary UAV or
(g) bypass BAV

[less than or equal to] 1 -- --
>1-2 27 (66%) 11 (27%)

>2-3 32 (53%) 24 (40%)

>3-4 26 (52%) 30 (60%)

>4-5 11 (38%) 25 (86%)

>5-6 3 (25%) 10 (83%)

6 2 (22%) 8 (89%)

[less than or equal to] 1 7 (70%) 2 (20%)

>1-2 40 (55%) 14 (19%)

>2-3 15 (52%) 12 (41%)

>3-4 3 (30%) 9 (90%)

>4-5 0 1 (100%)
>5-6 -- --
6 -- --

 Ejection fraction (%)
weight Range
(g) No. (mean)

[less than or equal to] 1 -- --
>1-2 37 15-78 (48)

>2-3 52 10-85 (51)

>3-4 44 15-80 (53)

>4-5 26 15-70 (53)

>5-6 10 20-65 (43)

6 8 15-70 (51)

[less than or equal to] 1 9 30-70 (47)

>1-2 66 15-80 (56)

>2-3 23 30-80 (54)

>3-4 9 45-75 (53)

>4-5 1 50
>5-6 -- --
6 -- --

 Ejection fraction (%)

AV No. (%)
weight [less than or No. (%)
(g) equal to] 40 >40

[less than or equal to] 1 -- --
>1-2 13 (35%) 24 (65%)

>2-3 14 (27%) 38 (73%)

>3-4 7 (16%) 37 (84%)

>4-5 5 (19%) 21 (81%)

>5-6 4 (40%) 6 (60%)

6 2 (25%) 6 (75%)

[less than or equal to] 1 4 (44%) 5 (56%)

>1-2 9 (14%) 57 (86%)

>2-3 4 (17%) 19 (83%)

>3-4 0 9 (100%)

>4-5 0 1 (100%)
>5-6 -- --
6 -- --

Reproduced with permission from Roberts WC and Ko JIM, 2004 (17).

AV indicates aortic valve; BAV, bicuspid aortic valve; BMI, body mass
index; LV, left ventricular; PSG, peak systolic gradient; UAV,
unicuspid aortic valve.

Table 7. Frequency of concomitant coronary artery bypass
grafting among patients having isolated aortic valve replacement
for aortic stenosis at three different institutions *

Valve (1963-1989) (1969-1992) (1993-2007)
structure (n = 259) (n = 308) (n =1351)

Unicuspid 2/61 (3%) 13/55 (24%) 13/83 (16%)
Bicuspid 13/140 (9%) 42/162 (26%) 280/646 (43%)
Tricuspid 10/58 (17%) 47/91 (52%) 390/622 (63%)

* Excludes cases in which the number of valve cusps was unclear

BUMC indicates Baylor University Medical Center; GUMC, Georgetown
University Medical Center; NIH, National Institutes of Health.

Table 8. Causes of aortic regurgitation in patients having isolated
aortic valve replacement at Baylor University Medical Center

 (years) at
Causes of operation:
aortic range
regurgitation Total (mean) M

Valve (n = 122; 46%)

without infective
 Bicuspid 59 22-77 49
 (22%) (55)

 Quadricuspid 2 53, 79 0
 (1%) (66)

 Tricuspid 5 33-48 3
 (2%) (40)

Infective 46 21-82 31
endocarditis (17%) (45)

Rheumatic? 8 25-63 6
 (3%) (47)

Miscellaneous 2 24, 42 1
 (1%) (33)

Nonvalve (n = 146; 54%)

Aortic 28 25-78 20
dissection (10%) (58)

Marfan or 15 21-71 9
forme fruste (6%) (47)

Aortitis 12 35-82 5
 (4%) (66)

Etiology unclear 91 50-84 58
 (34%) (66)

Total 268 21-84 182
 (100%) (57) (68%)

Causes of
regurgitation F Acute Chronic

Valve (n = 122; 46%)

without infective
 Bicuspid 10 0 59

 Quadricuspid 2 0 2

 Tricuspid 2 0 5

Infective 15 27 19

Rheumatic? 2 0 8

Miscellaneous 1 0 2

Nonvalve (n = 146; 54%)

Aortic 8 21 7

Marfan or 6 0 15
forme fruste

Aortitis 7 0 12

Etiology unclear 33 0 91

Total 86 48 220
 (32%) (18%) (82%)

Causes of
regurgitation SH CABG

Valve (n = 122; 46%)

without infective
 Bicuspid 39 18
 (66%) (31%)

 Quadricuspid 0 1

 Tricuspid 2 0

Infective 29 7
endocarditis (63%) (15%)

Rheumatic? 6 2
 (756%) (25%)

Miscellaneous 2 1
 (100%) (50%)

Nonvalve (n = 146; 54%)

Aortic 22 5 *
dissection (79%) (17%)

Marfan or 10 1 ([dagger])
forme fruste (67%) (7%)

Aortitis 10 5
 (83%) (42%)

Etiology unclear 83 46
 (91%) (51%)

Total 203 86
 (76%) (32%)

 Portions of
 ascending aorta

Causes of Examined CMN
aortic histo- (3+,
regurgitation Excised logically 4+)

Valve (n = 122; 46%)

without infective
 Bicuspid 22 22 11

 Quadricuspid 0 0 0

 Tricuspid 1 1 0

Infective 6 4 0

Rheumatic? 0 0 0

Miscellaneous 0 0 0

Nonvalve (n = 146; 54%)

Aortic 28 20 5

Marfan or 15 13 13
forme fruste

Aortitis 12 12 12

Etiology unclear 7 7 0

Total 91
 (34%) 76 41

Causes of deposits
aortic on AV
regurgitation BAV cusps

Valve (n = 122; 46%)

without infective
 Bicuspid 59 31

 Quadricuspid 0 0

 Tricuspid 0 0

Infective 15 8

Rheumatic? 0 3

Miscellaneous 0 0

Nonvalve (n = 146; 54%)

Aortic 3 4

Marfan or 0 2
forme fruste

Aortitis 0 2

Etiology unclear 0 26

Total 77 76/263
 (29%) (29%)

 Aortic valve weight
 (g): range (mean)
Causes of
regurgitation Men Women

Valve (n = 122; 46%)

without infective
 Bicuspid 0.52-2.99 0.68-1.80
 (1.42) (1.24)

 Quadricuspid -- 0.57, 1.13

 Tricuspid 1.11-1.40 0.34-0.66
 (1.23) (0.05)

Infective 0.77-2.31 0.44-2.50
endocarditis (1.53) (0.98)

Rheumatic? 1.10-2.45 1.31-1.83
 (1.81) (1.57)

Miscellaneous 0.55 --

Nonvalve (n = 146; 54%)

Aortic 0.51-1.19 0.37-0.90
dissection (0.81) (0.59)

Marfan or 0.73-1.01 0.35-0.85
forme fruste (0.94) (0.66)

Aortitis 0.63-0.79 0.35-0.70
 (0.70) (0.54)

Etiology unclear 0.48-2.13 0.31-1.74
 (1.08) (0.73)

Total 0.48-2.99 0.31-2.50
 151 ([double 75 ([double
 dagger]) dagger])

* Four other patients had CABG due to extension of the aortic
dissection into a coronary artery.

([dagger]) One additional patient had CABG due to extension of the
aortic dissection into a coronary artery.

([double dagger]) Number of cases with aortic valve weight.

Reproduced with permission from Roberts WC et al, 2006 (25).

AV indicates aortic valve; BAY, bicuspid aortic valve; CABG, coronary
artery bypass grafting; CMN, "cystic medial necrosis" (magnitude of
loss of elastic fibers in the aorta's media); F, female; M, male; SH,
systemic hypertension.

Table 9. Reported necropsy cases of mitral valve prolapse

First author, Number Age
year (reference) with MVP (years) Male/female

Pomerance, 35 ([dagger]) 51-98 23/12
1969 (mean 74)

Davies, 1978 (61) 90 ([section]) <40-100 44/46

Lucas, 1982 (57) 102 69 [+ or -} 12 62/40

Lucas, 1982 (57) 69 ** -- --

Dollar, 1991 (58) 56 ** 16-70 33/23
 (mean 48)

 No. of mitral
 MVP leaflets
First author, cause prolapsed
year (reference) of death 1/2 MR

Pomerance, 4 12/23 8

Davies, 1978 (61) 6 69/21 23

Lucas, 1982 (57) 4 34/68 18

Lucas, 1982 (57) -- -- --

Dollar, 1991 (58) 29 50/6 32

First author,
year (reference) RCT IE SD

Pomerance, 2 ([dagger]) 2 1

Davies, 1978 (61) -- 9 13

Lucas, 1982 (57) 7 ([dagger]) 7 0

Lucas, 1982 (57) 19 ([double 7 16

Dollar, 1991 (58) 18 ([double 0 15

First author,
year (reference) MS ASD * MAC

Pomerance, 0 1 9

Davies, 1978 (61) 0 0 3

Lucas, 1982 (57) 1 3 --

Lucas, 1982 (57) 20 9 --

Dollar, 1991 (58) 2 4 12

First author, HW
year (reference) increased DMA

Pomerance, 13 --

Davies, 1978 (61) 8 ([parallel]) 6

Lucas, 1982 (57) -- --

Lucas, 1982 (57) -- --

Dollar, 1991 (58) 30 ([dagger] 40

* Secundum type atrial septal defect.

([dagger]) Thirty cases from a single hospital (1 % of autopsies).

([double dagger]) Unassociated with infective endocarditis.

([section]) Cases acquired from four different hospitals (4.5% of

([parallel]) Heart weight >300 g.

([paragraph]) Cases seen in a single community hospital (7% of

** Cases "whose hearts had been sent to Edwards or Roberts for his
opinion and interest."

([dagger][dagger]) Heart weight >350 g in women and >400 g in men.

ASD indicates atrial septal defect; DMA, dilated mitral annulus; HW,
heart weight; IE, infective endocarditis; MAC, mitral annular calcium;
MR, mitral regurgitation; MS, the Marfan syndrome; MVP, mitral valve
prolapse; RCT, ruptured chordae tendineae; SD, sudden death; --, no
information available.

Figure 8. Aortic valve weights in men and women in each of 7
decades. All had aortic stenosis. Reproduced with permission
from Roberts WC and Ko JM, 2003(14).

Mean aortic valve weight (g)

Age group (years) Women Men

21-30 (2) 1.48 (1) 2.90
31-40 (4) 1.94 (5) 5.16
41-50 (6) 2.51 (18) 3.67
51-60 (14) 2.04 (43) 3.06
61-70 (54) 1.96 (89) 3.37
71-80 (75) 1.84 (100) 3.12
81-90 (39) 1.68 (47) 2.68

Note: Table made from bar graph.
COPYRIGHT 2008 The Baylor University Medical Center
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Roberts, William Clifford; Ko, Jong Mi
Publication:Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2008
Previous Article:Gastrointestinal bleeding and cutaneous nodules: Baylor Sammons Cancer Center at Dallas Site Tumor Conference: presented at the gastrointestinal...
Next Article:Long-term follow-up of patients with insomnia.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters