Endocarditis risk with bioprosthetic and mechanical valves: systematic review and meta-analysis


Bioprosthetic valves are being used with increased frequency for valve replacement, with controversy regarding risk:benefit ratio compared with mechanical valves in younger patients. However, prior studies have been too small to provide comparative estimates of less common but serious adverse events such as infective endocarditis. We aimed to compare the incidence of infective endocarditis between bioprosthetic valves and mechanical valves.


We searched PubMed, Cochrane, EMBASE, Scopus and Web of Science from inception to April 2018 for studies comparing left-sided aortic and mitral bioprosthetic to mechanical valves for randomised trials or observational studies with propensity matching. We used random-effects model for our meta-analysis. Our primary outcome of interest was the rate of infective endocarditis at follow-up.


13 comparison groups with 43 941 patients were included. Mean age was 59±7 years with a mean follow-up of 10.4±5.0 years. Patients with bioprosthetic valves had a higher risk of infective endocarditis compared with patients receiving mechanical valves (OR 1.59, 95% CI 1.35 to 1.88, p<0.001) with an absolute risk reduction of 9 per 1000 (95% CI 6 to 14). Heterogeneity within the included studies was low (I2=0%). Exclusion of the study with maximum weight did not change the results of the analysis (OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.14 to 2.17, p=0.006). A meta-regression of follow-up time on incidence of infective endocarditis was not statistically significant (p=0.788) indicating difference in follow-up times did not alter the pooled risk of infective endocarditis.


Bioprosthetic valves may be associated with a higher risk of infective endocarditis. These data should help guide the discussion when deciding between bioprosthetic and mechanical valves in individual patients.

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