fbpx

Paravalvular Leak (PVL)

What is a paravalvular leak?

A paravalvular leak (PVL) occurs when gaps develop around a previously replaced heart valve. Blood can leak through these defects, resulting in a paravalvular leak. In general such leaks do not cause great concern; however if the leak becomes significant, then it may lead to the development of a condition called hemolysis, which can lead to the destruction of red blood cells and anemia.

PVLs occur in the main due to simple wear and tear. During heart valve surgery, the replacement valve is stitched in place by the surgeon and, over time, these stitches can work loose. This creates the gaps or defects around the valve, which allow blood to leak through.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of a paravalvular leak?

With a small leak it is common for no symptoms to show. However, once a leak becomes significant, a shortness of breath, fatigue, heart flutter, heart murmur or atrial fibrillation will be experienced. In a serious leak this may lead to heart failure.

Symptoms

Assessment

What assessment do I need if I have a paravalvular leak?

Once a paravalvular leak is suspected, your cardiologist will recommend an echocardiogram (TTE). However, PVLs are difficult to detect and therefore a transoesophageal echocardiogram (TOE) may be used to provide a much clearer image of your heart and the location of any leak. In addition, a CT or MRI scan may also be used to determine the location of the leak.

Treatments

What are the treatments for a paravalvular leak?

Your cardiologist may just suggest monitoring the leak. Should it get worse and symptoms develop it can be closed with re-do surgery or through minimal invasive techniques.

  • Echocardiogram (TTE)

    An ‘echo’ is an ultrasound scan of the heart to assess structure and function. [READ MORE]

  • MRI Scan / CMR Scan

    These scans enable cardiologists to view detailed images of the heart’s anatomy. [READ MORE]

  • Paravalvular Leak (PVL) Closure

    This minimally invasive procedure closes a paravalvular leak. [READ MORE]

  • Transoesophageal Echocardiogram (TOE)

    Sometimes an ‘echo’ scan of the heart requires an ultrasound probe to be passed down the food pipe to provide a clearer image. [READ MORE]

Treatments

Conditions

View All

Procedures

View All