Thrombotic obstruction is the most feared complication of the Björk-Shiley tilting disc prosthesis. From 1971 to 1982 1186 Björk-Shiley valves were implanted in 900 patients. There were 93 deaths in hospital. Eight hundred and seven patients have been followed for a total of 4146 patient years; 14 patients were lost to follow up. Nineteen cases of thrombotic obstruction were identified at necropsy or at a repeat operation in the study group. The mitral prosthesis was thrombosed in 16 patients, the aortic in two, and the tricuspid in one. The incidence for this complication has been calculated to be 0.46 per 100 patient years for all valve positions, 0.79 for single mitral valve replacements, 0.18 for aortic replacements, and 0.63/100 for the tricuspid position. The maximum possible incidence of this complication in this population has been calculated to be 1.4 per 100 patient years. The mortality rate was 41.7% for reoperation and 63% for the development of the complication. Risk factors that have been identified are inadequate anticoagulant control, poor preoperative exercise capacity, and possibly also the implantation of small prostheses.
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