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Non-cardiac surgery in patients with valvular heart disease
  1. Regina Sorrentino1,2,
  2. Ciro Santoro1,
  3. Luca Bardi1,
  4. Vera Rigolin3,
  5. Federico Gentile2
  1. 1 Department of Advanced Biomedical Science, Federico II University Hospital, Napoli, Italy
  2. 2 Centro Cardiologico Gentile, Napoli, Campania, Italy
  3. 3 Medicine/Cardiology, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Federico Gentile, Centro Cardiologico Gentile, Napoli 80123, Italy; fdrcgentile{at}


In patients with significant valvular heart disease (VHD) undergoing non-cardiac surgery (NCS), perioperative adverse cardiac events are a relevant issue. Although postoperative outcomes can be adversely affected by valve-related haemodynamic instability, recommended perioperative risk scores prioritise the risk of the surgical procedure and the presence of cardiovascular risk factors, neglecting the presence or extent of VHD. Perioperative management and anaesthetic approach should focus on the underlying type and severity of VHD, the compensatory mechanisms deployed by left ventricle and right ventricle and the type and risk of NCS. Due to the lack of randomised trials investigating different therapeutic approaches of valvular intervention prior to NCS, recommendations mainly rely on consensus opinion and inference based on large observational registries. As a general rule, valvular intervention is recommended prior to NCS in symptomatic patients or in those who meet standard criteria for cardiac intervention. In the absence of such conditions, it is reasonable to perform NCS with tailored anaesthetic management and close invasive perioperative haemodynamic monitoring. However, patient-specific management strategies should be discussed with the heart team preoperatively. Symptomatic patients with severe VHD or those undergoing high-risk NCS should ideally be treated at a high-volume medical centre that is equipped to manage haemodynamically complex patients during the perioperative period.

  • heart valve diseases
  • heart valve prosthesis implantation
  • cardiac imaging techniques
  • transcatheter aortic valve replacement

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  • Contributors All authors have substantially contributed to the writing of this commissioned review. RS performed the literature review, writing of the manuscript and table design with support from C S. LB critically revised the manuscript. VR is an internationally renown expert in valvular heart disease. She contributed to the writing of the manuscript and critically revised it for important intellectual content. FG contributed substantially to the design, writing, concept and structure of the manuscript and critically revised the manuscript for important intellectual content.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.