Pulmonary Regurgitation

Preliminary Diagnosis: Pulmonary Regurgitation

I. What imaging technique is first-line for this diagnosis?

Trans-thoracic 2D echocardiography

II. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of this technique for diagnosing pulmonary regurgitation.


  • Offers exquisite anatomical and functional imaging.

  • Does not expose patients to ionizing radiation.

  • Detects pressure gradients and velocities across a diseased valve and helps guide treatment.


  • Operator dependent.

III. What are the contraindications for the first-line imaging technique?

No specific contraindications exist.

IV. What alternative imaging techniques are available?

  • PA and lateral view of the chest.

  • CTA.

  • MR/MRA of the heart.

  • Conventional cardiac catheter angiography.

V. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of the alternative techniques for diagnosis of pulmonary regurgitation.

PA and lateral view of the chest


  • Relatively inexpensive, portable imaging modality.

  • Exposes patients to negligible ionizing radiation.


  • Moderately sensitive and poorly specific in detecting and diagnosing pulmonary regurgitation.

  • Does not allow for adequate delineation of the surrounding anatomical structures.



  • Offers exquisite detail of the anatomical structures, including vascular, soft tissue, lymphatic, and osseous structures.

  • Highly sensitive and specific in detecting vascular calcifications.


  • Exposes patients to ionizing radiation.

  • Does not allow for therapeutic intervention.

MR/MRA of the heart


  • Does not expose patients to ionizing radiation.

  • Useful for evaluating for supravalvular and peripheral pulmonary stenosis.


  • Expensive.

  • More time consuming than other imaging modalities.

  • Offers less exquisite detail of the surrounding vascular structures.

  • May be subject to motion and susceptibility weighted image artifact.

  • Must be cardiac gated.

Conventional cardiac catheter angiography


  • Offers exquisite detail of the cardiac valvular architecture and helps detect any other coexisting abnormalities.

  • Allows for diagnosis and therapeutic intervention simultaneously.


  • Exposes patients to greater morbidity and mortality, secondary to the invasive nature of the exam.

  • Exposes patients to large amounts of ionizing radiation.

VI. What are the contraindications for the alternative imaging techniques?

PA and lateral view of the chest

  • No significant contraindications. Consent may be required for pregnant patients.


  • May be contraindicated in pregnant patients.

  • Relative contraindication in patients with renal failure and contrast allergy.

MR/MRA of the heart

  • Contraindicated in patients with non-MR compatible hardware.

Conventional cardiac catheter angiography

  • Contraindicated in patients who are in a severe hypercoaguable state.

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