Multimodality imaging of complications of cardiac valve surgeries
After cardiac valve replacement surgery, a wealth of imaging modalities are available for evaluation of a prosthetic heart valve and its complications, including radiography, echocardiography, fluoroscopy, CT, MRI, and nuclear medicine. Replacement with a prosthetic heart valve (PHV) remains the definitive surgical procedure for management of severe cardiac valve disease. PHV dysfunction is uncommon but can be a life-threatening condition. The broad hemodynamic and pathophysiologic manifestations of PHV dysfunction are stenosis, regurgitation, and a stuck leaflet. Specific structural abnormalities that cause PHV dysfunction include prosthetic valve–patient mismatch, structural failure, valve calcification, dehiscence, paravalvular leak, infective endocarditis, abscess, pseudoaneurysm, abnormal connections, thrombus, hypoattenuating leaflet thickening, and pannus. Multiple imaging modalities are available for evaluating a PHV and its dysfunction. Transthoracic echocardiography is often the first-line imaging modality, with additional modalities such as transesophageal echocardiography, CT, MRI, cine fluoroscopy, and nuclear medicine used for further characterization and establishing a specific cause. The authors review PHVs and the role of imaging modalities in evaluation of PHV dysfunction and illustrate the imaging appearances of different complications.