Question:

Are there symptoms as a blood clot forms on a heart valve?

Submitted by Wendy from Moreno Valley, California on 08/29/2014

At the point that the clot is forming, but has not traveled anywhere (embolized), there are no symptoms.  Clots in the heart form more commonly in the left atrium than on the valves (except for mechanical heart valve replacements).  Vegetations can occur on valves, usually from infection, and can lead to embolization, but are not strictly clots.  If a person is at significant risk for clot formation, the key is prevention.  Depending on many variables, the best form of prevention for clots is a blood thinner.  These include the traditional warfarin (which requires close monitoring of levels) as well as newer anti-coagulants for the most common form of atrial fibrillation.  The most common disease of the heart that places a person at risk for clots is atrial fibrillation.  The bottom line is that you cannot afford to wait for symptoms to decide to start blood thinners.  I hope this answers the question.