BACKGROUND: Degenerative mitral valve (MV) disease causing mitral regurgitation (MR) is the most common organic valve pathology and is classified based on leaflet motion. MV repair is indicated as the preferred technique (Class I indication) when the results are expected to be durable. Therefore, a detailed and systematic evaluation of MV apparatus is pivotal in allowing the proper surgical planning, as well as the screening for trans catheter-based treatment when surgery is not indicated.
AIM: The aim of the present review is to describe the crucial role of both Transthoracic Echocardiography (TTE) and Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE) in the decisional process and the guidance of MV repair procedures. TTE is the main investigation and the first approach used to make diagnosis of MR, to assess the severity and to describe the underlying mechanism, while TEE, especially with 3D echocardiography, has been shown to be useful for clarifying complicated valvular anatomy, assessing the surgical result and detecting complications. The surgical treatment of MR takes advantage of ultrasound evaluation of MV apparatus at any stage of the process, thus making the link between surgery and echocardiography unbreakable throughout the perioperative phase.