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BACKGROUND: Bioprosthetic valve thrombosis may have implications for valve function and durability. OBJECTIVES: Using a novel glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor radiotracer 18F-GP1, we investigated whether positron emission tomography (PET)-computed tomography (CT) could detect thrombus formation on bioprosthetic aortic valves. METHODS: Ex vivo experiments were performed on human platelets and explanted bioprosthetic aortic valves. In a prospective cross-sectional study, patients with either bioprosthetic or normal native aortic valves underwent echocardiography, CT angiography, and 18F-GP1 PET-CT. RESULTS: Flow cytometric analysis, histology, immunohistochemistry, and autoradiography demonstrated selective binding of 18F-GP1 to activated platelet glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptors and thrombus adherent to prosthetic valves. In total, 75 participants were recruited: 53 with bioprosthetic valves (median time from implantation 37 months [IQR: 12-80 months]) and 22 with normal native aortic valves. Three participants had obstructive valve thrombosis, and a further 3 participants had asymptomatic hypoattenuated leaflet thickening on CT angiography. All bioprosthetic valves, but none of the native aortic valves, demonstrated focal 18F-GP1 uptake on the valve leaflets: median maximum target-to-background ratio 2.81 (IQR: 2.29-3.48) vs 1.43 (IQR: 1.28-1.53) (P < 0.001). Higher 18F-GP1 uptake was independently associated with duration of valve implantation and hypoattenuated leaflet thickening. All 3 participants with obstructive valve thrombosis were anticoagulated for 3 months, leading to resolution of their symptoms, improvement in mean valve gradients, and a reduction in 18F-GP1 uptake. CONCLUSIONS: Adherence of activated platelets is a common and sustained finding on bioprosthetic aortic valves. 18F-GP1 uptake is higher in the presence of thrombus, regresses with anticoagulation, and has potential use as an adjunctive clinical tool. (18F-GP1 PET-CT to Detect Bioprosthetic Aortic Valve Thrombosis; NCT04073875).

Original publication




Journal article


Jacc cardiovasc imaging

Publication Date





1107 - 1120


18F-GP1, bioprosthetic aortic valve replacement, positron emission tomography-computed tomography, thrombus, Aortic Valve, Bioprosthesis, Cross-Sectional Studies, Heart Valve Prosthesis, Humans, Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography, Positron-Emission Tomography, Predictive Value of Tests, Prospective Studies, Thrombosis