In patients with prosthetic heart valves non-cardiac surgery may require temporary discontinuation of oral anticoagulation. Although the risk of valve related thromboembolic complications may generally be only slightly increased during the short perioperative period, in the presence of certain risk factors, replacement of oral anticoagulation with heparin is recommended. In the presented patient, unusually fulminant and finally fatal thrombosis of a mechanical mitral valve prosthesis developed within only 48 hours after non-cardiac surgery despite heparin treatment. The thrombosis was triggered by clinical conditions favouring a hypercoagulable state. This report dramatically shows that despite improvements in prosthetic heart valve design and in the management of anticoagulation, thrombosis remains one of the most dangerous complications after valve replacement with a mechanical prosthesis.
- mitral valve
- mechanical prosthesis
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