Valvular and Structural Heart Disease*: American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines (8th Edition)

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Abstract

This chapter about antithrombotic therapy for valvular heart disease is part of the American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines (8th Edition). Grade 1 recommendations are strong and indicate that the benefits do, or do not, outweigh risks, burden, and costs. Grade 2 suggests that individual patient values might lead to different choices (for a full understanding of the grading see Guyatt et al, CHEST 2008; 133[suppl]:123S-131S). Among the key recommendations in this chapter are the following: for patients with rheumatic mitral valve disease complicated singly or in combination by the presence of atrial fibrillation (AF), previous systemic embolism, or left atrial thrombus, we recommend vitamin K antagonist (VKA) therapy (Grade 1A). For patients with rheumatic mitral valve disease and normal sinus rhythm, without left atrial enlargement, we do not suggest antithrombotic therapy unless a separate indication exists (Grade 2C). For patients with mitral valve prolapse (MVP), not complicated by AF, who have not had systemic embolism, unexplained transient ischemic attacks, or ischemic stroke, we recommend against antithrombotic therapy (Grade 1C). In patients with mitral annular calcification complicated by systemic embolism or ischemic stroke, we recommend antiplatelet agent (APA) therapy (Grade 1B). For patients with isolated calcific aortic valve disease, we suggest against antithrombotic therapy (Grade 2C). But, for those with aortic valve disease who have experienced ischemic stroke, we suggest APA therapy (Grade 2C). For patients with stroke associated with aortic atherosclerotic lesions, we recommend low-dose aspirin (ASA) therapy (Grade 1C). For patients with cryptogenic ischemic stroke and a patent foramen ovale (PFO), we recommend APA therapy (Grade 1A). For patients with mechanical heart valves, we recommend VKA therapy (Grade 1A). For patients with mechanical heart valves and history of vascular disease or who have additional risk factors for thromboembolism, we recommend the addition of low-dose aspirin ASA to VKA therapy (Grade 1B). We suggest ASA not be added to long-term VKA therapy in patients with mechanical heart valves who are at particularly high risk of bleeding (Grade 2C). For patients with bioprosthetic heart valves, we recommend ASA (Grade 1B). For patients with bioprosthetic heart valves and additional risk factors for thromboembolism, we recommend VKA therapy (Grade 1C). For patients with infective endocarditis, we recommend against antithrombotic therapy, unless a separate indication exists (Grade 1B).

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