Prosthetic valve obstruction (PVO) is a rare but feared complication of mechanical valve replacement. Diagnostic evaluation should focus on differentiating prosthetic valve thrombosis (PVT) from pannus formation, as their treatment options differ. History of sub-optimal anti-coagulation and post-op time course to development of PVO are useful clinical characteristics in differentiating thrombus from pannus formation. Treatment of PVT is influenced by the patient's symptoms, valve location, degree of obstruction and thrombus size and may include thrombolysis or surgical intervention. Alternatively, pannus formation requires surgical intervention. The purpose of this article is to review the pathophysiology, epidemiology, diagnostic approach and treatment options for aortic and mitral valve PVO.
Keywords: Echocardiography; Pannus overgrowth; Prosthetic valve obstruction; Prosthetic valve thrombosis; Thrombolysis.