A Narrative Review of Postoperative Anticoagulation Therapy for Congenital Cardiac Disease

Alexander A. Boucher, Julia A. Heneghan, Subin Jang, Kaitlyn A. Spillane, Aaron M. Abarbanell, Marie E. Steiner, Andrew D. Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Congenital heart disease encompasses a range of cardiac birth defects. Some defects require early and complex surgical intervention and post-operative thromboprophylaxis primarily for valve, conduit, and shunt patency. Antiplatelet and anticoagulant management strategies vary considerably and may or may not align with recognized consensus practice guidelines. In addition, newer anticoagulant agents are being increasingly used in children, but these medications are not addressed in most consensus statements. This narrative review evaluated the literature from 2011 through 2021 on the topic of postoperative thromboprophylaxis after congenital heart disease operations. The search was focused on the descriptions and results of pediatric studies for replacement and/or repair of heart valves, shunts, conduits, and other congenital heart disease operations. Wide variability in practice exists and, as was true a decade ago, few randomized controlled trials have been conducted. Aspirin, warfarin, and perioperative heparin remain the most commonly used agents with varying dosing, duration, and monitoring strategies, making comparisons difficult. Only recently have data on direct oral anticoagulants been published in children, suggesting evolving paradigms of care. Our findings highlight the need for more research to strengthen the evidence for standardized thromboprophylaxis strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number907782
JournalFrontiers in Surgery
StatePublished - Jun 14 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to acknowledge Dawn Hackman, one of the librarians at the University of Minnesota biomedical library, for her assistance in the database searches.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Boucher, Heneghan, Jang, Spillane, Abarbanell, Steiner and Meyer.


  • Blood coagulation
  • anticoagulants
  • aspirin
  • congenital heart disease
  • pediatrics
  • warfarin


Dive into the research topics of 'A Narrative Review of Postoperative Anticoagulation Therapy for Congenital Cardiac Disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this