Impact of Mechanical Aortic Prostheses in hospital stay and anticoagulation related complications

Author(s): Ana Lopez-Marco, Stuart W Grant, Saifullah Mohamed, Chiara Proli, Dheeraj Mehta, Aprim Youhana, Ragheb Hasan, Yasir Abu-Omar, Nicolas Nikolaidis

Objective: Use of mechanical valves requires long-term anticoagulation, which carries additional risks of bleeding and thrombosis. The aim of the study was to investigate the impact of anticoagulation on length of postoperative stay and the incidence of anticoagulation-related complications.

Methods: A multicentre study of prospectively collected data, including all patients below 65 years of age undergoing aortic valve replacement (± concomitant non-valvular procedures) was performed. Exclusion criteria included preoperative atrial fibrillation and other indications for anticoagulation, previous cardiac surgery, emergency operations and infective endocarditis. Primary end-points were length of hospital stay and anticoagulation-related complications within 6 weeks of discharge.

Results: A total of 1973 patients were included over a 5-year period from 5 centres in the UK. Mean patient age was 59 years (range 17-65 years). Mechanical valves were implanted in 52% of patients. The use of mechanical prostheses was associated with significantly prolonged postoperative stay (median of 7 vs. 6 days with bioprosthesis, p < 0.001) being an independent predictor of prolonged postoperative stay (> 8 days; OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.27-1.90, p < 0.001). On subanalysis, 1.4% of patients with mechanical prosthesis required readmission for anticoagulation-related complications within 6 weeks of discharge (including late tamponade). An additional 2% required repeated hospital attendance for INR stabilisation.

Conclusion: Use of mechanical valves in patients below 65 years of age is associated with both increased hospital stay and anticoagulation-related complications compared to bioprosthesis. The clinical and health economic implications of prosthesis choice should be considered by both the heart team and patient.

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