Thinners post valve Replacement
If you have undergone a valve replacement procedure recently, your cardiologist may prescribe you a medicine known as anti-coagulant or more commonly called blood thinners. The guidelines for long-term use of blood thinners may differ based on the type of valve used whether it is of the biological form (animal or human tissue) or artificial man-made. There might be a requirement that you will have to take blood thinners for your whole life.
WHY THERE IS A NEED TO TAKE BLOOD THINNERS?
There are two reasons because of which your cardiologist may prescribe you a blood thinner. Firstly because of the nature of the material used in the development of valve. Titanium and carbon are used in the construction of man-made valves. Human blood has a tendency to “cling” to the surface of the artificial valve resulting in its malfunction and clogging. Although the surface of the artificial valve is not sticky itself, the human blood will adhere to it in a manner that does not happen in the case of a natural heart valve. If clot formation occurs, it can lead to stroke or heart attack.
The second reason is the turbulence caused by artificial valves in the blood passing through the heart. This means in the presence of an artificial valve, the flow of blood is not as smooth as it is in the presence of natural heart valves. This presents another opportunity for blood to form clots .
BLOOD THINNERS AND LIFE
Based on the blood thinner prescribed, your cardiologist may need to monitor your test results post-surgery for several months to ensure that the correct dose is prescribed. Based on the clotting time of your blood, the dose of blood thinner may be adjusted to ensure that your blood does not become “too thin” or “too thick”. You should make a habit of informing your healthcare provider, whether a dentist or a medical practitioner that you have had your heart valves replaced and you are on blood thinners. Even before minor procedures and in case, your medicines are being changed, this information should be shared with your healthcare provider.
BLOOD THINNERS, DIET, AND ACTIVITIES
While you are taking a blood thinner, your chances to form clots or bleeding becomes easier and you might get bruises easily also. That’s why caution should be exercised in daily activities to avoid getting injuries especially in the case your physical activity is more. If you have been prescribed warfarin, you should limit your consumption of alcohol because the processing of the drug by the body gets affected by alcohol. Additionally, the effectiveness of warfarin is also inhibited by vitamin K, therefore you should discuss with your doctor about eating food rich in vitamin K such as kale, spinach, lettuce, or broccoli.
If you are confused about managing your daily activities and diet while taking your blood thinner, the expert time at The Valve Clinic will be happy to resolve any of your queries. You can contact The Valve Clinic for your further queries.
- Types of Replacement Heart Valves [Internet]. www.heart.org. [cited 2022 Feb 9]. Available from: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-valve-problems-and-disease/understanding-your-heart-valve-treatment-options/types-of-replacement-heart-valves
- staff familydoctor org editorial, Rice A. What Causes Blood Clots? – Symptoms [Internet]. familydoctor.org. [cited 2022 Feb 9]. Available from: https://familydoctor.org/condition/blood-clots/
- Blood Thinners and Dental Care [Internet]. [cited 2022 Feb 9]. Available from: https://www.aaom.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=126:blood-thinners-and-dental-care&catid=22:patient-condition-information&Itemid=120
- Lubetsky A, Dekel-Stern E, Chetrit A, Lubin F, Halkin H. Vitamin K Intake and Sensitivity to Warfarin in Patients Consuming Regular Diets. Thromb Haemost. 1999;81(3):396–9.