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Early thrombus formation including hypo-attenuated leaflet thrombosis after surgical bioprosthetic aortic valve replacement.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the occurrence, predictors, and outcomes of hypo-attenuated leaflet thickening (HALT) and thrombus outside the prosthetic valve following surgical aortic valve replacement.

METHODS: A total of 118 patients underwent surgical aortic valve replacement with bioprosthetic valves between July 2020 and June 2022. Sixty-two (52.5%) patients, which is a fairly high number of patients, underwent cardiac computed tomography and transthoracic echocardiography one week after surgery. Patients were divided into two groups, those with HALT (n = 14) and those without HALT (n = 48).

RESULTS: Of the 62 patients who underwent cardiac computed tomography, HALT was observed in 14 (22.5%) patients during the very early postoperative phase. Reduced leaflet motion was observed in two of the 14 patients. The low-attenuation areas were located outside the prosthetic valve in 10 cases (71.4%) in the HALT group and in 14 cases (29.2%) in the non-HALT group. More than 50% of patients (57.1%) with HALT and 79.2% without HALT were administered warfarin. Neither in-hospital deaths nor postoperative thromboembolic events were observed during hospitalization. No patient had a mean pressure gradient > 20 mmHg in either group.

CONCLUSION: HALT was observed in one-fifth of the cases after surgical aortic valve replacement during the very early postoperative phase in an institution wherein administration of continuous heparin infusion after surgery is a standard practice. HALT did not affect the early prognosis or incidence of cerebral infarction.

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