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Prevalence and clinical significance of incidental paraprosthetic valvar regurgitation: a prospective study using transoesophageal echocardiography
  1. A Ionescu1,
  2. A G Fraser1,
  3. E G Butchart2
  1. 1University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, UK
  2. 2University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr A Ionescu
    Wales Heart Research Institute, Academic Avenue, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XN, UK; ionescu{at}


Objective: To assess the prevalence, mechanisms, and significance of paraprosthetic regurgitation detected incidentally by transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE) in patients after heart valve replacement.

Design: Prospective observational study.

Setting: Tertiary referral centre.

Patients: 360 consecutive patients (mean (SD) age 65.8(9.5) years, 193 women) undergoing elective first ever valve replacement.

Methods: Postoperative and follow up TOE, and tests for haemolysis and anaemia.

Results: There were 243 aortic, 90 mitral, and 27 double valve replacements, using 316 mechanical and 44 tissue valves, giving 270 aortic and 117 mitral valves. One patient with severe paraprosthetic mitral regurgitation underwent immediate reoperation and was excluded from subsequent analyses. Paraprosthetic jets were detected around 16 (6%) of the aortic and 38 (32%) of the mitral valves (p < 0.05) at the postoperative study. Follow up TOE was available for 151 aortic and 67 mitral valves, 0.9 (0.5) years after operation. Paraprosthetic jets were present in 15 (10%) of the aortic and 10 (15%) of the mitral valves (NS). Two thirds of the aortic and a fifth of the mitral jets were new. Paraprosthetic jets were more common in aortic valves in a supra-annular (12 of 88, 14%) than in an intra-annular position (4 or 182, 2%; p < 0.005) and in mitral valves inserted with continuous (36 of 88, 41%) rather than interrupted sutures (2 of 28, 7%; p < 0.001). Lactate dehydrogenase concentration was higher in patients with paraprosthetic jets than in those without (752 (236) v 654 (208) IU/l, p < 0.001). Haemoglobin and haptoglobin concentrations were not different.

Conclusions: Small paraprosthetic leaks are common, are related to surgical factors, are not associated with increased subclinical haemolysis, and are benign during the first year after heart valve replacement.

  • paraprosthetic regurgitation
  • haemolysis
  • CABG, coronary artery bypass grafting
  • LDH, lactate dehydrogenase
  • TOE, transoesophageal echocardiography

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