This study was designed to examine the accuracy of multiplane transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) color Doppler measurements in comparison to monoplane or biplane measurements in estimating the severity of mitral regurgitation (MR). Multiplane TEE potentially increases diagnostic accuracy of transesophageal examinations; it is unknown if multiplane is more accurate in assessing the severity of MR than monoplane or biplane TEE. Left ventricular cineangiograms of 91 patients with MR (40 no or mild, 30 moderate, and 21 severe) were compared with systolic pulmonary venous flow reversal and transesophageal color Doppler measurements: jet area and length in the transverse and longitudinal plane, maximal and average of those 2 planes (biplane), and maximal and average of 11 different planes (multiplane). Flow reversal (16 patients) identified severe MR with a specificity of 96% and a sensitivity of 62%; these were 96% and only 10% to 43%, respectively, for color Doppler measurements. in the absence of flow reversal, multiplane maximal jet area predicted severe MR with a sensitivity of 88% and a specificity of 75%, which were 85% and 76%, respectively, for no or mild MR; this did not differ significantly from results obtained by monoplane or biplane measurements. Color Doppler measurements of eccentric jets were not reliable for identification of severe MR. Systolic pulmonary venous flow reversal identifies 2 of 3 patients with severe MR with a high accuracy. In patients without flow reversal, multiplane color Doppler TEE is very capable of assessing MR severity, but biplane and monoplane TEE are equally accurate. (C) 1996 by Excerpta Medica, Inc.