II. Epidemiology

  1. Heart Valve Replacement Incidence
    1. Worldwide: 290,000 per year
    2. U.S.: Up to 95,000 per year

III. Types

  1. Mechanical Heart Valves (Artificial Heart Valves)
    1. Composed of metal or carbon alloys
    2. Subtypes include caged ball, single tilting disk or bileaflet tilting disk
  2. Bioprosthetic Heart Valves (biologic Heart Valves)
    1. Heterografts
      1. Porcine or bovine tissue mounted on metal support
    2. Homografts
      1. Preserved human valve tissue

IV. Management: Valve type selection

  1. Historically, Valve Replacement type is chosen based on age
    1. Mechanical Heart Valves (Artificial Heart Valves) for younger patients (age <60 years)
      1. More short-term complications in first 1-2 decades (bleeding and Thromboembolism risk)
      2. Requires Anticoagulation
        1. See Anticoagulation after Heart Valve Replacement
    2. Bioprosthetic Heart Valves (biologic Heart Valves) for older patients (age >70 years)
      1. Structural integrity decreases overtime and requires earlier repeat replacement
  2. Some experts argue that bioprosthetic valves should be considered for all patients
    1. Require Anticoagulation and greater complications in the first 2 decades
    2. Equivalent morbidity and mortality for the first 15 years after Valve Replacement with either technique
    3. Repeat Valve Replacements for bioprosthetic valves are safe (and required less frequently then prior studies)
    4. http://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2015/03/03/09/28/surgical-aortic-valve-replacement-biologic-valves-are-better-even-in-the-young-patient

V. Complications

  1. General
    1. Overall complication rate: 6%
    2. Echocardiogram (TTE or TEE) is the first-line tool for Prosthetic Heart Valve complication evaluation
      1. Acoustic shadowing with Mechanical Heart Valves may limit diagnostic efficacy
  2. Mechanical valves
    1. Thromboembolism (often non-obstructive thrombi)
      1. Always consider as source in thromboembolic disease
    2. Valvular obstruction (due to valve thrombus from under-anticoagulated)
      1. Fibrinolytics: Small valve thrombus with mild symptoms (NYHA Class 1-2)
      2. Emergent Surgery: Large thrombus is critically ill patients
    3. Hemorrhage (typically associated with Anticoagulation)
    4. Valve regurgitation (due to paravalvular leak)
    5. Hemolytic Anemia (less common with modern mechanical valves)
  3. Bioprosthetic valves
    1. Structural dysfunction (e.g. valve degeneration, calcification or Fracture)
      1. Results ultimately in repeat Valve Replacement
    2. Valve regurgitation (due to paravalvular leak or structural degeneration)

VI. References

  1. Schauer et al. (2016) Crit Dec Emerg Med 30(9):13-9

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