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Horn, Emilia, 2022. Evaluation of factors that might affect the grading of heart murmurs in dogs with myxomatous mitral valve disease. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Clinical Sciences (until 231231)



Myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) is the most common heart disease in dogs. The first
sign of MMVD is usually a heart murmur, which most commonly is detected before clinical signs
of the disease potentially develop. The preclinical period of MMVD is usually long and can be
prolonged with medical treatment. Murmur grading and, primarily, diagnostic imaging techniques
are used to determine if medical treatment is indicated. Many veterinarians use a 6-level scale to
grade heart murmurs. The grades of the 6-level scale are, however, defined differently in various
literature. Several studies have shown a relatively good agreement between murmur grade and
disease severity based on echocardiographic assessment in dogs with MMVD. However, the agreement is not complete.
The aim of this study was to evaluate potential factors, such as dog and mitral regurgitation (MR)
characteristics, that might impact murmur assessment, as well as to evaluate the utility of various
murmur grading scales in a group of dogs with MMVD. Evaluation of the utility of various murmur
grading scales could potentially help optimize existing murmur grading scales. Moreover, knowledge about factors impacting murmur grading could potentially lead to a better understanding of
the association between murmur grades and disease severity (based on echocardiographic assessment).
Client-owned dogs presenting with a heart murmur at the Cardiology Clinic at the University Animal
Hospital at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Uppsala, Sweden, were
prospectively recruited to the study if they, based on echocardiographic findings, had a diagnosis of
MMVD. Information about dog characteristics, data from clinical examination (including murmur
characteristics), and echocardiographic findings were collected. The MMVD severity staging
system (including stages A, B1, B2, C, and D) developed by the American College of Veterinary
Internal Medicine (ACVIM) Specialty of Cardiology Consensus panel was used.
A total of 53 dogs were recruited to the study. A systolic heart murmur could be heard when listening
with the ear close to the chest wall (without a stethoscope) in 44%, 86%, and 100% of dogs in stages
B1, B2, and C-D, respectively. The murmurs remained audible when the stethoscope was lifted
slightly off the chest wall in 11%, 18%, and 63% of dogs in stages B1, B2, and C-D, respectively.
None of the dogs in stage B1 had a precordial thrill, whereas 43% and 78% of dogs in stage B2 and
stages C-D, respectively, had precordial thrills. The murmur grade increased with ACVIM stage.
Most dogs (65% and 83%, respectively) in stages B1 and B2 had an MR jet with a lateral direction,
while most dogs (60%) in stages C-D had an MR jet with a central direction.
In conclusion, whether the murmur can be heard without a stethoscope and specific intensity
descriptions for each grade might be redundant criteria in murmur grading scales. Both the 4-level
and 6-level scales might be useful in dogs with MMVD, but more research is needed to further
evaluate the utility of these and other scales. Furthermore, no firm conclusions about if the factors
investigated impact the agreement between murmur grading and disease severity can be drawn from
the results in this study. Factors such as body condition score, murmur characteristics, and the
direction of the MR jet are still considered potential factors that could impact murmur grading, but
further research with a larger study population is needed.

Main title:Evaluation of factors that might affect the grading of heart murmurs in dogs with myxomatous mitral valve disease
Authors:Horn, Emilia
Supervisor:Ljungvall, Ingrid and Häggström, Jens and Höglund, Katja
Examiner:Pelander, Lena
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2022
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:VY002 Veterinary Medicine Programme 330 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Clinical Sciences (until 231231)
Keywords:murmur grading, grading of heart murmurs, factors impacting murmur grading, utility of murmur grading scales, myxomatous mitral valve disease, MMVD, dog
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Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal diseases
Deposited On:14 Mar 2022 09:43
Metadata Last Modified:03 Feb 2023 00:15

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