Aims Prognosis after aortic valve replacement (AVR) with mechanical prostheses depends on multiple inter-related factors. Investigation into these factors is complicated by limited knowledge on outcome after AVR and by the varying therapeutic ranges of International Normalized Ratio employed worldwide. Meta-analysis was combined with microsimulation to calculate evidence-based, age-specific outcomes after AVR with St. Jude Medical (SJM) prostheses (St. Jude Medical, Inc., St. Paul, MN, U.S.A.). Method and results Eight studies were included in a metaanalysis of published results of primary isolated AVR with SJM prostheses (2986 patients, 16,163 patient-years) in order to estimate the hazard of postoperative valve-related events. Using microsimulation, calculated life expectancy and eventfree life expectancy were 22 and 16 years in males aged 35 years, and 7 and 5 years in males aged 75 years, respectively. Calculated lifetime risks for thromboembolic and bleeding events were 22% and 15% in males aged 35 years, and 7% and 37% in males aged 75 years, respectively. Varying thromboembolic and bleeding hazards resulted in considerable shifts in lifetime risks and deaths associated with these events. Conclusion Meta-analysis combined with microsimulation is a powerful tool with which to calculate reliable estimates of long-term prognosis, and allows detailed insight into the occurrence of valve-related events. Thromboembolism and bleeding occur frequently after AVR with mechanical prostheses and have an important impact on survival. Optimal control of International Normalized Ratio is therefore of utmost importance.

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European Heart Journal Supplements
Department of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery

Takkenberg, J.J.M, Puvimanasinghe, J.P.A, van Herwerden, L.A, Steyerberg, E.W, Eijkemans, M.J.C, Habbema, J.D.F, & Bogers, A.J.J.C. (2001). Prognosis after aortic valve replacement with St. Jude Medical bileaflet prostheses: Impact on outcome of varying thromboembolic and bleeding hazards. European Heart Journal Supplements, 3(Q). doi:10.1016/S1520-765X(01)90039-2