Bicycle Exercise Echocardiography to Assess Physiological Significance of Mitral Annular Calcification

2019-09-24 05:27:37 | BioPortfolio


Many people develop calcium deposits in the heart as they get older. One of the common places for this to occur is the mitral annulus, the band of tissue that supports the mitral valve (one of four heart valves). The purpose of this study is to examine effects of these deposits (termed mitral annular calcification or "MAC") on a person's ability to perform exercise. The research team will use ultrasound of the heart (Doppler echocardiography) to study people with MAC while they exercise on a specially designed bicycle.


Mitral annular calcification (MAC) involves build-up of calcium in the mitral annulus, the fibro-muscular band which supports the mitral valve. The annulus aids in valve function, contracting in early systole (contraction phase) and bringing the valve leaflets together. In diastole (filling phase) it enlarges allowing blood to flow freely across the valve. Calcification stiffens the annulus and can extend onto the valve leaflets stiffening them. When severe, MAC impairs flow across the valve (mitral stenosis). This is characterized by a pressure gradient across the valve which can be detected by Doppler echocardiography (ultrasound).

Routine Doppler echocardiography is performed at rest when heart rates and flow across the mitral valve are low. Thus, even with severe MAC, there may only be a small pressure gradient present. However, with exercise these gradients can rise rapidly, leading to symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath.

MAC is associated with aging and is becoming more prevalent. Our hypothesis is that MAC is a common cause of shortness of breath with exertion. Further, the investigator believes this is under-appreciated because routine Doppler echocardiograms are done at rest. Therefore, the investigator will study adult subjects with moderate to severe MAC during bicycle exercise. Doppler echocardiography will be used to measure both the resting gradient across the mitral valve and changes with exercise. Symptoms will be measured by Borg Perceived Exertion scale.

If the research team is successful, the research team expects to demonstrate convincingly that this commonly encountered finding on Doppler echocardiography is an important cause of patient symptoms.

Study Design


Mitral Annulus Calcification


bicycle stress echocardiography


Einstein Medical Center
United States




Albert Einstein Healthcare Network

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-09-24T05:27:37-0400

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A type of heart valve surgery that involves the repair, replacement, or reconstruction of the annulus of the MITRAL VALVE. It includes shortening the circumference of the annulus to improve valve closing capacity and reinforcing the annulus as a step in more complex valve repairs.

The use of a bicycle for transportation or recreation. It does not include the use of a bicycle in studying the body's response to physical exertion (BICYCLE ERGOMETRY TEST see EXERCISE TEST).

Echocardiography amplified by the addition of depth to the conventional two-dimensional ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY visualizing only the length and width of the heart. Three-dimensional ultrasound imaging was first described in 1961 but its application to echocardiography did not take place until 1974. (Mayo Clin Proc 1993;68:221-40)

A method of recording heart motion and internal structures by combining ultrasonic imaging with exercise testing (EXERCISE TEST) or pharmacologic stress.

Backflow of blood from the LEFT VENTRICLE into the LEFT ATRIUM due to imperfect closure of the MITRAL VALVE. This can lead to mitral valve regurgitation.

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