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  • Author or Editor: Mariola B. Rak x
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To investigate the usefulness of radiographic measures of the left atrium and ventricle as surrogates for echocardiographic criteria in identifying dogs with stage B2 preclinical myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD).


56 client-owned dogs with preclinical mitral regurgitation attributed to MMVD examined between April 19, 2016, and November 22, 2017.


Medical records were retrospectively searched, and data collected included age, body weight, heart murmur grade, and echocardiographic and radiographic measurements. Dogs were grouped according to whether they did (case dogs) or did not (control dogs) meet echocardiographic criteria used to identify dogs with stage B2 MMVD. Measurements for lateral thoracic radiographic variables normalized to vertebral body units (VBUs) were obtained, and results were analyzed to identify variables that could best discriminate between case and control dogs.


Three radiographic variables of left atrial size (vertebral left atrial size [VLAS], left atrial width, and the combined variable of VLAS + left atrial width) most accurately distinguished control dogs from case dogs, and the VLAS was the simplest and fastest to perform in a clinical setting. The optimal cutoff for VLAS was 2.5 VBUs (sensitivity, 70%; specificity, 84%; and likelihood ratio, 4.38), with VLAS ≥ 2.5 VBUs for case dogs. The maximum specificity cutoff for VLAS was 3.0 VBUs (sensitivity, 40%; specificity, 96%; and likelihood ratio, 10.0), with VLAS ≥ 3.0 VBUs for case dogs.


Results indicated that when echocardiography is unavailable, radiographic VLAS ≥ 3 VBUs could be used with minimal risk of false-positive diagnosis of stage B2 MMVD in dogs.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association