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Diagnosis Heart & Vascular

Mitral Valve Disorders

The diagnosis of mitral valve disease is confirmed with echocardiography. This is a safe, painless test that uses sound waves (ultrasound) to examine the heart's structure and motion. This test provides information about the heart's pumping ability, blood flow activity, valve function, size and pressure.

UCSF is an international leader in echocardiography and has been at the forefront of developing new techniques and equipment in this field. UCSF cardiac surgeons not only use echocardiography before surgery to diagnose mitral valve disease and plan the procedure, but also during repair.

In many cases, the echocardiography tells surgeons all they need to know to perform the surgery, so that cardiac catheterization — an invasive procedure performed to obtain detailed information about the heart — is not necessary. Cardiac catheterization uses catheters, which are thin, flexible tubes inserted through tiny incisions in the groin or neck and threaded through blood vessels to the heart.

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.