Background: Tricuspid valve replacement is one of the most challenging operations in cardiac surgery. Selection of the suitable prosthesis is still debatable.
Methods: In our institution, between January 1980 and December 2000, 129 tricuspid valve replacements were performed in 122 patients (14.7%). Bioprosthetic valves were used in 32 patients, whereas 97 patients had mechanical valve implantation. Twenty-two percent of replacements were done on men. Mean age was 35.27+/-11.56 years. In all patients, initially an annuloplasty technique was tried. Tricuspid valve replacement was performed when annuloplasty was not sufficient. In most of the cases, tricuspid valve interventions were done under cardiopulmonary bypass and on a beating heart.
Results: Early mortality was 24.5%. Patients were followed for 2 to 228 months. Seven patients underwent reoperation because of tricuspid valve dysfunction (7.6%). Nine patients died during the follow-up period. Late mortality was 9.7%. Actuarial estimates of survival in 20 years of follow-up for all tricuspid prosthetic valves, mechanical valves, and bioprosthetic valves were 65.1%+/-9.3%, 68.3%+/-10.6%, and 54.8%+/-12.1%, respectively. For the bioprosthetic valve group, freedom from structural valve degeneration was 90%+/-5.5%; for the mechanical valve group, freedom from deterioration, endocarditis, and leakage was 97.8%+/-4.2%, and freedom from thromboembolism was 92.6%+/-6.9%.
Conclusions: We found that there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in terms of early mortality, re-replacement, and midterm mortality (p > 0.05). Nevertheless, we recommend low profile modern bileaflet mechanical valves for prosthetic replacement of the tricuspid valve, due to their favorable hemodynamic characteristics and durability.