This study sought to establish the practice patterns of a diverse group of academic physicians, in the management of periprocedural anticoagulation for patients with mechanical heart valves, to study adherence to American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) guidelines. Physicians (n = 140) were surveyed to assess strategies for the periprocedural anticoagulation of patients with bileaflet mechanical heart valves undergoing 2 common outpatient procedures. Six patient scenarios with graded risk profiles were presented for each valve location (mitral and aortic). In >90% of high-risk patient scenarios, for which the ACC/AHA guidelines recommend periprocedural anticoagulation, anticoagulation was recommended, with minimal differences between physician specialties. However, periprocedural anticoagulation was also recommended in >70% of non-high-risk scenarios, for which the ACC/AHA guidelines recommend no periprocedural anticoagulation. Noncardiologists recommended anticoagulation more often in non-high-risk patients (p <0.01), especially for patients with aortic valve prostheses. Thus, academic physicians appropriately recommend periprocedural anticoagulation for high-risk patients with mechanical heart valves who undergo elective procedures. However, these data specifically suggest variability in practice for non-high-risk patients that are discordant with current ACC/AHA guidelines, with differences by treating specialty especially notable in this risk subset.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine