Thrombosis of bileaflet tricuspid valve prosthesis: Clinical spectrum and the role of nonsurgical treatment

Y. Shapira*, A. Sagie, R. Jortner, Y. Adler, R. Hirsch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Thrombosis of a mechanical tricuspid valve prosthesis is a potentially hazardous event. This study aimed to explore the incidence and the clinical presentation of tricuspid valve thrombosis occurring in bileaflet valves and to evaluate the diagnostic and the therapeutic approach. Methods and Results: Tricuspid valve thrombosis was sought in 22 late survivors with the CarboMedics valve in a follow-up period of 36.0 ± 20.8 months. Limited leaflet motion and/or a visible thrombus were considered diagnostic of valve thrombosis. Eight episodes of tricuspid valve thrombosis were diagnosed among 5 patients (12.1 episodes per 100 patient-years). Anticoagulant was inadequate in 3 patients and fair in 2. Florid right heart failure occurred in 3 episodes. Common physical findings included increased jugular venous pulse (5 patients), diastolic tricuspid murmur (4 patients), and peripheral edema (4 patients). The diagnosis was suspected in all clinically and by transthoracic echocardiography and confirmed by fluoroscopy and/or transesophageal echocardiography. In 4 patients, both leaflets were involved. No thrombi were visualized. Three patients received thrombolytic therapy in 4 episodes (complete success in 3, partial success in 1) without hemorrhagic or embolic complications. One patient responded to aggressive anticoagulant therapy. One patient required an emergent repeat surgery. In 1 patient, valve thrombosis recurred thrice. Conclusions: In patients with fair or poor anticoagulation, a bileaflet valve in the tricuspid position is associated with a high incidence of valve thrombosis. Hinge entrapment requires only a small amount of thrombotic material. Valve thrombosis may be asymptomatic. Involvement of both leaflets is usually required to produce symptoms. A nonsurgical approach (thrombolysis or intensified anticoagulation) is usually successful. Patients should be instructed about heralding signs of valve thrombosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-725
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Heart Journal
Issue number4 I
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


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