Valvular heart disease is a global health problem. It is estimated that more than 280,000 prosthetic heart valves are implanted worldwide each year. As the world's population is aging, the incidence of prosthetic heart valve implantation and the prevalence of prosthetic heart valves continue to increase. Assessing heart valve prosthesis function remains challenging, as prosthesis malfunction is unpredictable but not uncommon.Transthoracic two-dimensional and Doppler echocardiography is the preferred method for assessing prosthetic valve function. Clinically useful Doppler-derived measures for assessing prosthetic valve hemodynamic profiles have been reported for aortic, mitral, and tricuspid valve prostheses, but echocardiographic data regarding pulmonary valve prostheses remain limited. Complete prosthetic valve evaluation by transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) is sometimes challenging due to acoustic shadowing and artifacts. In these cases, further imaging with transesophageal echocardiography, fluoroscopy and/or gated CT may be warranted, particularly if prosthetic valve dysfunction is suspected. Being able to differentiate pathologic versus functional obstruction of an individual prosthesis is extremely important, as this distinction affects management decisions. Transprosthetic and periprosthetic regurgitation may be difficult to visualize on TTE, so careful review of Doppler-derived data combined with a high index of suspicion is warranted, particularly in symptomatic patients. A baseline TTE soon after valve implantation is indicated in order to "fingerprint" the prosthesis hemodynamic profile. It remains unclear how frequently serial imaging should be performed in order to assess prosthetic valve function, as this issue has not been systematically studied.
- Heart valves
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine