Posts Tagged ‘pannus vs thrombus’

Prosthetic valve obstruction is becoming a common clinical issue .It can be either acute, sub-acute or chronic . The pathology is usually thrombus formation , scar tissue growth (Pannus) or rarely a mechanical defect. Echocardiographic differentiation of thrombus from  pannus can be difficult .Generally , pannus is smaller , linear (less round) ,encroach from the periphery to central , mean gradients are consistently lower  than thrombus mediated obstruction. Clinically  pannus related obstruction present less acutely and occur in-spite of good compliance of anticoagulant medication and a well maintained  INR .

Trans thoracic (TTE)  , Trans-esophagel (TEE ) echocardiography , and real time 3D TEE are useful imaging modalities .The value of cine fluroscopy should be never underestimated and it is probably still the the best way assess the struck metallic leaflet.

Though the pathogenesis of pannus and thrombus are considered different there  is no reason they can’t  occur in a given patient at the same time.We know at least  one patient who had been referred to surgeon for mitral valve obstruction due to failed thrombolysis  had showed heavy load of thrombus  attached over a well formed pannus originating in medial sewing ring.

FInal message

However intelligent one may be , human brain often  tends to get skewed when confronted with a sudden query like  “What is your diagnosis , This or that  ?  Pannus or thrombus ? .Most will  go with  any one of it ! However, cardiac physicians must be aware  both pannus and thrombus can occur overlaid simultaneously in a given patient .The exact incidence  of such “combined thrombo-pannus”  is not known  but bound to be higher as we look for it. In fact , many of the residual gradients after lysis is attributable to undiagnosed pannus.  There is also a  suggestion scarred  , injured  ,  rough surface of the pannus could be the initial trigger for thrombus formation .


1.Differentiating thrombus from pannus formation in obstructed mechanical prosthetic valves: an evaluation of clinical, transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiographic parameters  John Barbetseas,  Sherif F Nagueh,  Christos Pitsavos, ;J Am Coll Cardiol. 1998;32(5):1410-1417. 

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