Background and aim of the study: The study aim was to determine risk factors for operative mortality, recurrent infection, reoperation and long-term survival following aortic valve replacement (AVR) for infective endocarditis.
Methods: Between 1973 and 1997, 109 patients (91 male, 18 female, mean age 52.6 years) underwent isolated AVR for infective endocarditis in our unit. Native valve endocarditis was present in 89 (81.6%) and prosthetic valve endocarditis in 20 (18.4%). Active culture-positive endocarditis was present in 53 (48.6%). Preoperatively, 99 patients (90.8%) were in NYHA classes III and IV. Indications for surgery included cardiac failure in 41 patients, valvular dysfunction in 38, vegetations in 18, sepsis in seven, abscess in six and embolism in four. Mechanical valves were implanted in 69 patients (63.3%) and bioprostheses in 40 (36.7%), including a homograft in 19 (17.4%). Follow up was complete (mean 5.8 years; range: 0-23.8 years; total 633.5 patient-years).
Results: The operative mortality was 10.1% (11 deaths). At ten years, freedom from recurrent infection was 94.2%, and freedom from reoperation 83.6%. Biological valve and younger age were significant adverse parameters for freedom from reoperation (p = 0.01 and p = 0.01). There have been 21 late deaths, 15 due to cardiac causes. Kaplan-Meier survival, including operative mortality, at five and ten years was 77.4% and 68.0%, respectively. On Cox proportional hazards regression, Staphylococcus aureus infection (p = 0.008) and older age (p = 0.04) were independent adverse predictors of survival.
Conclusion: AVR for endocarditis carries a relatively high operative mortality, but can result in a satisfactory freedom from recurrent infection, reoperation and long-term survival. Analysis of our series demonstrates that implantation of a biological valve limits the freedom from reoperation and that infection by Staph. aureus reduces the probability of long-term survival.