Non-obstructive prosthetic heart valve thrombosis (NOPVT): Really a benign entity?

María Mutuberría-Urdaniz, José F. Rodríguez-Palomares, Ignacio Ferreira, Jordi Bañeras, Gisela Teixidó, Laura Gutiérrez, German Zavala, Maria T. González-Alujas, Artur Evangelista, Pilar Tornos, David García-Dorado

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© 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Abstract Aims To assess the effectiveness of different treatment strategies in patients with non-obstructive prosthetic valve thrombosis (NOPVT) during hospitalization and long-term follow-up. Methods NOPVT was diagnosed by transesophageal echocardiography. Resolution was defined as the disappearance or reduction of the thrombus under anticoagulation. All cases were first managed with optimization of anticoagulation. At discharge, patients received oral anticoagulation (OAC) alone or OAC and antiplatelet therapy (double treatment). Adverse events were defined as cardiovascular death, recurrence, thromboembolic events or major bleeding. Results From 1997 to 2012, 47 patients (mean age: 65 years; women: 60%) were diagnosed with NOPVT (mitral valve: 97%). Previous poor anticoagulation control was documented in 66% of patients. Twenty-one patients (45%) were treated with unfractionated heparin (UFH), especially those with thrombus size > 10 mm (19/21). Optimization of OAC was performed in the remaining patients. Treatment failed in 13 (27.6%) patients, mostly in those who received UFH (10/13), requiring surgery (53.8%) or fibrinolysis (30.7%). Forty-two patients survived and, at discharge, 44% of patients received OAC alone and 56% the double treatment. At follow-up (median 23 months; range 0.03-116 months), 59.5% of patients presented cardiovascular events, however no differences in outcome were observed with double treatment or OAC alone (p = 0.385). Conclusions NOPVT is a high-risk complication, not only during hospitalization but also during follow-up. Optimization of anticoagulation is efficient in most patients except in thrombi ≥ 10 mm treated with UFH. The double treatment does not prevent adverse events or complications during follow-up.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20677
Pages (from-to)16-22
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2015


  • Anticoagulation
  • Cardiovascular event
  • Echocardiography
  • Embolus
  • Prosthetic heart valve
  • Thrombosis


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