Newswise — February 22, 2018– A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology confirms non-invasive cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) provides a highly accurate means of assessing mitral regurgitation in patients with valvular heart disease. Dr. Seth Uretsky, Medical Director of Cardiovascular Imaging and Associate Director of the Cardiovascular Fellowship Program at Atlantic Health System, served as the study’s lead author.

Dr. Uretsky presented his research findings at CMR 2018 in Barcelona, Spain earlier this month. CMR 2018 was a joint meeting organized by the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI), a registered branch of the European Society of Cardiology, and the Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (SCMR).

Mitral regurgitation is a common form of valvular heart disease affecting approximately two million Americans. It is a condition in which the heart's mitral valve doesn't close tightly, which allows blood to flow backward in the heart. Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, lightheadedness, and a rapid, fluttering heartbeat. Some people may not need treatment, however, more severe cases may require medication or surgery.

The current guidelines call for using echocardiography (ultrasound) to determine the severity of mitral regurgitation. However, more physicians are using CMR without contrast to measure the volume of regurgitation. The use of CMR provides a highly accurate and reproducible assessment of the left and right chamber size and function, and has become the gold standard for evaluating cardiac chamber size, the review confirms. CMR complements echocardiography and, in some patients, is exceptionally helpful in determining how severe the leakage is.

“Clear, accurate imaging is critical to helping cardiologists accurately diagnose and confirm heart problems,” said Dr. Uretsky. “By using more cardiac magnetic resonance in patients with mitral regurgitation, cardiologists are able to better understand the extent of the lesion and determine the most appropriate treatment approach. For some patients, that may be the difference between having surgery to correct the valve or not.”

Atlantic Health System’s Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute offers patients the most advanced cardiac imaging technology including 320-slice cardiac CT angiography, 3D echocardiography, cardiac MRI, and SPECT/PET stress testing.

“Many patients don’t understand that cardiac imaging is not the same everywhere—for instance, a cardiac MRI performed at a center that doesn’t have updated technology, skilled technicians and an expert reading the images may provide an incomplete or inaccurate assessment of heart problems,” said Linda D. Gillam, MD, MPH, FACC, the Dorothy and Lloyd Huck Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at Morristown Medical Center/Atlantic Health System. “Patients should seek out a facility that provides high-quality imaging particularly if there are important management decisions to be made.” 

The paper is available on the Journal of the American College of Cardiology website and can be found through its doi number: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.12.009.


About Heart Care at Atlantic Health System


The Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute at Morristown and Overlook Medical Centers, part of Atlantic Health System, is home to New Jersey’s largest cardiac surgery program, providing patients with world-class medical experts and award-winning cardiovascular diagnostic and treatment services. Specializing in open-heart, minimally invasive and non-invasive procedures, Gagnon offers its patients individualized care at a hospital that was named one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals for Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery by US News and World Reports and one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Care by Healthgrades. Nationally ranked in cardiology since 2012, the heart care team at Atlantic Health System includes cardiologists with expertise in multiple disciplines, vascular specialists, cardiac surgeons and allied health professionals. 


About Atlantic Health System 


Atlantic Health System, headquartered in Morristown, N.J., is an integrated health care delivery system powered by a workforce of 16,000 team members dedicated to building healthier communities. The system is comprised of 350 sites of care, including six hospitals: Morristown Medical Center, Overlook Medical Center, Newton Medical Center, Chilton Medical Center, Hackettstown Medical Center and Goryeb Children’s Hospital. It also includes Atlantic Alliance, a Clinically Integrated Network representing 2,500 health care providers throughout northern and central NJ. This network includes more than 900 physicians and providers within the Atlantic Medical Group, as well as members of the Atlantic Accountable Care Organization and Optimus Healthcare Partners which work to enhance patient care delivery. Atlantic Health System also supports communities through Atlantic Rehabilitation and Atlantic Home Care and Hospice. Facilitating the connection between these services on both land and air is the transportation fleet of Atlantic Mobile Health. Atlantic Health System is a founding member of AllSpire Health Partners, a consortium of five leading health care organizations from the New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania region.

Journal Link: Journal of the American College of Cardiology