Prosthetic Heart Valve Thrombosis



Prosthetic heart valve thrombosis is thought happen due to a reaction between the blood and the new valve, or blood flow in and around it.

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the chance of prosthetic heart valve thrombosis include:

  • Not getting enough blood thinning treatment after the valve replacement
  • The new valve is at the heart's mitral valve
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Some medicines
  • Cancerous tumors
  • Systemic diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, or swelling and harm to body tissues, such as joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and brain
  • The heart is not pumping as much—possibly due to heart failure



Prosthetic heart valve thrombosis may cause:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble breathing while lying down
  • Swelling
  • Fatigue and problems working out
  • Chest pain, burning, or pressure
  • Nausea
  • Numbness
  • Loss of consciousness


The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam may be done.

Images may be need to check the heart and chest. These may include:

  • Echocardiogram
  • Fluoroscopy

Blood tests may also need to be done



The goal of treatment is to get rid of any blockages to help blood flow better. This may be done with:


Medicines are given that can break up the blood clots. This is often the first thing done to help with thrombosis.

Anticoagulation Therapy

Medicines may be given to control how the blood clots. Anticoagulation therapy may be used alone in people with small clots that are not blocking the heart valve.

Valve Replacement

Surgery may be needed to replace the valve.


For people who have gotten new heart valves, medicine to reduce blood clotting may help lower the chance of prosthetic heart valve thrombosis.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.