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Paravalvular Leak

What is Paravalvular Leak? 

Paravalvular leak is a rare complication that can result from surgical or transcatheter replacement of a mitral or aortic valve. The leak appears to be more common in mitral valves compared to aortic or tricuspid valves replacements. Most leaks are non-significant; however, some leaks lead can lead to heart failure or hemolytic anemia (red bloods cells are destroyed and removed from the bloodstream before the normal lifespan of red blood cells is over).

What are causes of Paravalvular Leak? 

Patients who have a higher likelihood of developing a paravalvular leak have a lot of calcium build up on the ring around the valve, have had valve replaced multiple times or are being treated for endocarditis.

Symptoms of Paravalvular Leak? 

Some common symptoms of paravalular leak are the following:

  • anemia
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling in their legs and feet
  • unexplained weight gain 

Diagnosing Paravalvular Leak

  • echocardiogram 
  • cardiac CT
  • cardiac catheterization

Treatment options for Paravalvular Leak

  • Catheter-based treatments: Assuming the valve leaflets are functioning normally, trans-catheter paravalvular leak closure is usually the preferred treatment option. This involves advancing a catheter inserted from the groin or the chest across the defect and using this catheter to deliver one or more plugs to seal the leak