Prosthetic Heart Valve Thrombosis (Prosthetic Valve Thrombosis; PVT)
Prosthetic heart valve thrombosis is a rare but serious complication of a
heart valve replacement procedure
. The complication occurs when a thrombus (blood clot) is attached to or near a prosthetic heart valve. This can obstruct blood flow or interfere with the function of the valve. This condition can be life-threatening. Seek medical attention immediately if you think you have prosthetic heart valve thrombosis.
Heart Valves With Prosthetic Replacements
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.
Prosthetic heart valve thrombosis is thought to result from an interaction between components of blood and the prosthesis or turbulent blood flow in and around the prosthesis.
The following factors may increase your chance of developing prosthetic heart valve thrombosis. If you have any of the following risk factors, tell your doctor:
Inadequate anticoagulant therapy after a valve transplant Prosthesis located at the mitral valve in the heart
Drugs (eg, contraceptives) Cancerous tumors
Systemic diseases (eg,
, inflammation and damage to various body tissues, including joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and brain)
systemic lupus erythematosus Reduced cardiac pumping (low ejection fraction)
Shortness of breath Difficulty breathing while lying down Waking at night short of breath Swelling Fatigue Difficulty exercising Chest pain, burning, or pressure Nausea Numbness Loss of consciousness
Transient ischemic attack Absence or lessening of prosthetic noise
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Tests may include the following:
—a test that uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to examine the size, shape, and motion of the heart
Blood tests Fluoroscopy—an x-ray technique
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:
The first line of therapy is usually thrombolysis, which uses medications to break up abnormal blood clots.
Anticoagulant medications are used to control clotting. Anticoagulation therapy may be used alone in people with small clots that are not obstructing the heart valve.
In some cases, surgery to replace the valve may be necessary.
In people who have prosthetic heart valves, antithrombotic therapy (eg, warfarin and aspirin) may help reduce the risk of prosthetic heart valve thrombosis.
Prosthetic heart valve thrombosis. DynaMed website. Available at:
Accessed February 27, 2007.
Serpi M, Schmidt KG, Kreuz W, et al. Thrombolysis of prosthetic heart valve thrombosis using recombinant tissue plasminogen activator.
2001;90(3):191-196. Available at:
Roudant R, Serri K, Lafitte S. Thrombosis of prosthetic heart valves: diagnosis and therapeutic considerations.
Last reviewed November 2008 by
Michael J. Fucci, DO
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a
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EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.