Article Text

Download PDFPDF

21 Long term follow-up and outcomes after valve replacement – a 10-year, single-centre experience of the heart valve surveillance clinic
  1. Polyvios Demetriades1,
  2. Rosie Oatham2,
  3. Cheryl Oxley1,
  4. Tim Griffiths1,
  5. Sally Clews1,
  6. Nigel Stokes1,
  7. Grant Heatlie1,
  8. Simon Duckett1
  1. 1University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, Stoke-on-Trent, UK
  2. 2School of Medicine, Keele University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK


Introduction The long-term management of patients following valve replacement is challenging. The fields of percutaneous and surgical valves are expanding rapidly, leading to increased service demands. Most patients in our institution are managed within a dedicated cardiac physiologist’ run valve clinic. Initially, follow-up centred around ESC 2012 guidelines on the management of valve disease, which recommended a baseline clinical and echocardiographic assessment after surgery and lifelong annual clinical follow-up. In addition, they recommended annual echocardiogram 5 years for bioprosthetic valves with no specific guidance for mechanical valves. Locally, all patients enrolled into the valve clinic received annual clinical and echocardiographic assessment. In 2019, the BHVS/ BSE published more comprehensive guidance on long-term follow-up of these patients. The Covid-19 pandemic placed pressure on the NHS to reduce outpatient appointments. Prior to service alteration, we conducted an audit to expand our understanding of outcomes in these patients.

Methods We retrospectively analysed the data of all patients enrolled in our valve service. We assessed demographics, date and indication for surgery, prosthesis type and position, baseline assessment, frequency of follow-up and significant valve-related complications. Complications constituted: any degree of paravalvular regurgitation, ≥moderate transvalvular regurgitation, raised transvalvular gradients, valve thrombosis, infective endocarditis, new LV dysfunction, need for re-intervention, cardiac-related hospital admission and valve-related death.

Results We identified 294 patients who underwent valve replacement since clinic establishment in 2010. Patient demographics are shown in table 1. Only 37% of patients had baseline echocardiogram following surgery. Once enrolled into the clinic, 82.7% had yearly clinical and echocardiographic assessment. Table 2 demonstrates the echocardiographic and clinical complications we identified. During follow up 20.7% developed regurgitation, 9.5% developed abnormal gradients and one required re-intervention for re-stenosis. One patient had valve thrombosis and was managed medically. Additionally, 9.2% were diagnosed with new LV dysfunction; four of these required admission with decompensated heart failure and one died. 3.4% developed infective endocarditis; three required re-do surgery and four died. Figure 1 provides a schematic of valve-related complications and outcomes. Importantly, all patients who required admission, re-do surgery or that died, presented acutely with symptoms; the complications were not picked-up by the valve clinic.

Abstract 21 Figure 1

Significant valve related complications and outcomes*Regurgitation = any degree of paravalvular / ≥moderate transvalvular; Increased gradients = above normal for specific valve type; IE=infective endocarditis

Abstract 21 Table 1

Demographics of 294 patients with valve replacements enrolled in our service

Abstract 21 Table 2

Follow up intervals, echocardiographic and clinical complications of 294 patients with valve replacement enrolled in our valve clinic

Conclusions Contrast to our expectations, we identified only a small number of valve-related complications. With pressures rising to reduce outpatient footprint, we are now in the process of safely adjusting our practice in line with the BHVS/ BSE recommendations, supported by the evidence generated by our audit. We strongly encourage departments review their current services and implement evidence-based guidelines in the long-term management of patients with valve replacements.

Conflict of Interest None

  • Valvular Heart Disease
  • Echocardiography
  • Prosthetic heart valves

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.