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You are here: Contents > 2012 > Volume 21 Number 6 November 2012 > MISCELLANEOUS > A Case of Starr-Edwards Valve Thrombosis in Pregnancy

A Case of Starr-Edwards Valve Thrombosis in Pregnancy

Margot Davis, Marla Kiess, Valerie Rychel, Doreen Fofonoff, Jasmine Grewal
Division of Cardiology and Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of British Columbia, St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver, Canada

Starr-Edwards ball-in-cage prosthetic heart valves, although durable, are associated with a particularly high rate of thromboembolic complications. This valve is seldom used in North America, and is certainly not the valve of choice in a woman of childbearing age. Few reports exist from the 1970s of thrombotic complications in pregnant women with Starr-Edwards prostheses, and the optimal management strategy for such valves is unclear. Here, the case is reported of a 31-year-old woman with a Starr-Edwards prosthesis in the mitral position who was transferred to the authors’ center at six weeks’ gestation with pulmonary edema. Transthoracic echocardiography demonstrated

thrombosis of the prosthetic valve, with a mean gradient of 23 mmHg. When treated initially with intravenous heparin and furosemide the patient improved significantly; however, the optimal management going forward was unclear. Here, the options for anticoagulation during pregnancy and for management in the event of valve thrombosis are reviewed. In the absence of any clear guidelines, a thorough discussion of the various risks and benefits with the patient is necessary, but ultimately any consideration of the risk to the mother is paramount.


The Journal of Heart Valve Disease 2012;21:783-787

A Case of Starr-Edwards Valve Thrombosis in Pregnancy

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