Case Report|Articles in Press

An unusual cause of iron deficiency anemia in a patient with severe aortic stenosis and heart failure

Published:January 25, 2023DOI:


      There has been an exponential increase in incidence of severe aortic stenosis partially due to the lengthening of average lifespan. Among the most disabling symptoms of aortic stenosis are chest pain, fatigue, and dyspnea up to heart failure and pulmonary edema. In some cases, to worsen this symptomatology, there are coagulation disorders linked to an alteration of functional von Willebrand factor, responsible for progressive anemia. In elderly patients with severe aortic stenosis, the simultaneous presence of an angiodysplasia of the colon can favor blood dripping, which may cause iron deficiency anemia. The coexistence of colonic angiodysplasia and acquired von Willebrand disease in patients with aortic stenosis was identified as Heyde's syndrome. In the long term, Heyde's syndrome can contribute to worsen the clinical manifestations of severe aortic stenosis leading to heart failure. Here, we describe the case of a patient suffering of severe calcific aortic stenosis who developed Heyde's syndrome achieving a condition of heart failure with mildly reduced ejection fraction.

      Learning objectives

      Severe aortic stenosis can alter the conformation of the circulating von Willebrand glycoprotein, causing an alteration of the hemostatic balance. When angiodysplasia of the colon coexists with aortic stenosis, a gastrointestinal blood drip can occur inducing an iron deficiency anemia that worsens the symptoms of aortic valvulopathy. This condition often remains undiagnosed. We discuss the pathophysiologic and hemodynamic mechanisms responsible for acquired von Willebrand syndrome in patients with severe aortic stenosis focusing on the clinical elements useful to raise the diagnostic suspicion and analyzing different alternative tools to recognize it promptly.


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