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Care of the patient after valve intervention


This review aims to outline the current evidence base and guidance for care of patients post-valve intervention. Careful follow-up, optimisation of medical therapy, antithrombotics, reduction of cardiovascular risk factors and patient education can help improve patient outcomes and quality of life. Those with mechanical valves should receive lifelong anticoagulation with a vitamin K antagonist but in certain circumstances may benefit from additional antiplatelet therapy. Patients with surgical bioprosthetic valves, valve repairs and transcatheter aortic valve implantation also benefit from antithrombotic therapy. Additionally, guideline-directed medical therapy for coexistent heart failure should be optimised. Cardiovascular risk factors such as hyperlipidaemia, hypertension and diabetes should be treated in the same way as those without valve intervention. Patients should also be encouraged to exercise regularly, eat healthily and maintain a healthy weight. Currently, there is not enough evidence to support routine cardiac rehabilitation in individuals post-valve surgery or intervention but this may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Women of childbearing age should be counselled regarding future pregnancy and the optimal management of their valve disease in this context. Patients should be educated regarding meticulous oral health, be encouraged to see their dentist regularly and antibiotics should be considered for high-risk dental procedures. Evidence shows that patients post-valve intervention or surgery are best treated in a dedicated valve clinic where they can undergo clinical review and surveillance echocardiography, be provided with heart valve education and have access to the multidisciplinary valve team if needed.

  • echocardiography
  • heart valve diseases

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