Misconceptions, diagnostic challenges and treatment opportunities in bioprosthetic valve thrombosis: Lessons from a case series

Sorin V. Pislaru, Imad Hussain, Patricia A. Pellikka, Joseph J. Maleszewski, Richard D. Hanna, Hartzell V. Schaff, Heidi M. Connolly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Bioprosthetic valve thrombosis (BPVT) is a rare but potentially life-threatening complication. Current guidelines favour surgery or thrombolysis as initial treatment. We set forth to characterize timing, diagnostic criteria and treatment strategies in BPVT. METHODS: A free-text search tool was used to identify patients diagnosed with BPVT at Mayo Clinic between 1997 and 2013. We compared patients treated initially with vitamin K antagonists (VKA group; N = 15) versus surgery/thrombolysis (non-VKA group; N = 17). RESULTS: Peak incidence of BPVT was 13-24 months after implantation in both groups. VKA and surgery/thrombolysis decreased prosthetic mean gradients to a similar extent (VKA group: 13 ± 5 to 6 ± 2 mmHg in mitral position, 9 ± 3 to 5 ± 1 mmHg in tricuspid position and 39 ± 3 to 24 ± 7 mmHg in aortic/pulmonary position; non-VKA group: 16 ± 12 to 5 ± 1 mmHg in mitral, 10 ± 5 to 4 ± 1 mmHg in tricuspid and 57 ± 9 to 18 ± 6 mmHg in aortic position; P = 0.59 for group effect). NYHA class improved in 11 of 15 patients in the VKA group and 10 of 17 patients in the non-VKA group (P = 0.39). There were no deaths, strokes or recognized embolic events; 1 patient in each group experienced gastrointestinal bleeding requiring transfusion. Index transthoracic echocardiogram formally identified BPVT in a minority of patients. CONCLUSIONS: BPVT may occur late after surgical implantation. VKA therapy resulted in haemodynamic and clinical improvement with minimal risk, and should be considered the first-line therapy in haemodynamically stable patients. Echocardiographic criteria for improving BPVT diagnosis are proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberezu201
Pages (from-to)725-732
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Anticoagulant therapy
  • Bioprosthetic valves
  • Prosthetic valve thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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