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Eur J Echocardiogr. 2011 Apr;12(4):265-71. doi: 10.1093/ejechocard/jeq172. Epub 2010 Dec 30.

Valvular heart disease associated with benfluorex therapy: results from the French multicentre registry.

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Department of Cardiology, University Hospital Brest, Brest, France.



The aim of this paper is to report clinical characteristics, consequences, echocardiographic features, and pathological findings encountered in patients suffering from valvular disease associated with benfluorex exposure in a multicentre French registry.


Forty patients suffering from unexplained restrictive valvular disease with a previous exposition to benfluorex, a fenfluramine derivative, were identified from eight French university hospitals. Patients were mostly women (87.5%) with a mean age of 57 ± 9 years and high body mass index of 30 ± 7 kg/m²; 37.5% of them presented with severe heart failure symptoms (NYHA class III and IV). Benfluorex mean daily dose was 415 ± 131 mg with total therapy duration of 72 ± 53 months. Resulting cumulative dose was 910 ± 675 g. Common echocardiographic findings were leaflets and sub-valvular apparatus thickening and retraction. Aortic and mitral valve regurgitations resulting from leaflets loss of coaptation were the most frequent findings (87.5 and 82.5%) and were severe in 29 patients (72.5%). Multiple valve involvements were present in 31 cases (77.5%). Pulmonary arterial hypertension was identified in 20 cases (50%). Histopathological examination demonstrated abundant extra cellular matrix encasing the leaflets without modification of valve architecture. Fifteen patients (37.5%) underwent valvular surgery.


Benfluorex-related valvulopathy shares numerous characteristics with other drug-induced valvular disease. Clinical consequences may be serious with severe heart failure symptoms that may lead to surgical treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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