Paravalvular Leaks-From Diagnosis to Management

Curr Treat Options Cardiovasc Med. 2019 Nov 14;21(11):67. doi: 10.1007/s11936-019-0776-6.


Purpose of review: As the number of surgical and transcatheter valve replacements continue to increase in the aging population, so does the incidence of paravalvular leak (PVL). Given its impact on morbidity and mortality, this article will focus on the epidemiology, clinical presentation, diagnostic assessment, and available treatments for PVL.

Recent findings: Despite being performed on inoperable and typically higher risk patients, short-term complication rates of transcatheter PVL closure appear relatively low (< 10%). When indirectly compared with surgical PVL closure, long-term mortality, reoperation rates and degree of symptom improvement are similar. Nonetheless, current transcatheter closure devices are off-label and repurposed from other indications. Further development of percutaneous closure devices is an essential next step in order to improve and optimize outcomes. In patients with surgical and especially transcatheter-replaced heart valves, clinicians need to maintain vigilance for the presence of PVL, particularly in those with new-onset heart failure or hemolysis. Multimodality imaging is essential to detect and quantify PVL. Echocardiography (both transthoracic and transesophageal) is the backbone of diagnosis and quantification, and cardiac computed tomography and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging play an important role in defect characterization and in periprocedural planning. For those patients who are unable to undergo surgery, transcatheter PVL closure is an appropriate next step in management as it has similar outcomes to surgical intervention when performed in a center of expertise.

Keywords: Aortic valve; Mitral valve; Paravalvular leak; Paravalvular leak closure; Paravalvular regurgitation.

Publication types

  • Review