Persistent anemia in otherwise asymptomatic severe aortic stenosis: a possible indication for valve replacement?

Isr Med Assoc J. 2004 Jul;6(7):400-2.


Background: The indication for aortic valve replacement in patients with significant aortic stenosis is symptomatology. Aortic stenosis may be associated with bleeding from colonic angiodysplasia, resulting in anemia. Persistent anemia in such patients, despite lack of an identifiable source of bleeding, is not considered an indication for valve replacement.

Objectives: To report our experience with two elderly female patients who suffered from severe asymptomatic aortic stenosis, low levels of large von Willebrand factor multimer (10% and 5% respectively) and persistent anemia requiring multiple blood transfusions.

Methods: Both patients underwent an intensive work-up, but a source of bleeding could not be identified. Aortic valve replacement was performed in both patients.

Results: Aortic valve replacement abolished the need for further blood transfusions during a follow-up period of 20 months with normalization of the vWF multimer level (20% and 30% respectively).

Conclusion: We suggest that aortic valve replacement be considered in selected patients with severe, otherwise asymptomatic aortic stenosis, who suffer from persistent anemia requiring multiple blood transfusions, lack an identifiable source of bleeding and have low levels of large vWF multimers.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / etiology*
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / surgery
  • Angiodysplasia / physiopathology
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / complications*
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / surgery
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Colonic Diseases / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis Implantation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Treatment Outcome
  • von Willebrand Factor / physiology


  • von Willebrand Factor