Management of Life-Threatening Bleeding in Patients With Mechanical Heart Valves

Link to article at PubMed

Cureus. 2021 Jun 13;13(6):e15619. doi: 10.7759/cureus.15619. eCollection 2021 Jun.


Valvular heart disease is common in the United States, with a number of patients undergoing valve replacement procedures every year. The two types of valve prostheses include mechanical and bioprosthetic valves. Mechanical heart valves require lifelong anticoagulation with vitamin K antagonists like warfarin. The clinicians are often faced with the dilemma of major bleeding episodes such as intracranial hemorrhage or gastrointestinal bleeding in these patients. The management includes reversing warfarin-induced coagulopathy with vitamin K supplementation, fresh frozen plasma, or prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC), with PCC being the treatment of choice. With regard to the safe resumption of anticoagulation, guidelines are silent, and data is limited to case reports/series. This article reviews the present literature for the management of bleeding in patients with mechanical heart valves and the safe duration for holding off anticoagulation with minimal risk of valve thrombosis/thromboembolism.

PMID:34277237 | PMC:PMC8276624 | DOI:10.7759/cureus.15619

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