Objectives: This study was designed to compare the results of aortic valve replacement in patients greater than or equal to 80 years old with those in patients 65 to 75 years old.
Background: Aortic valve replacement may be potentially more complicated and require the use of more resources when performed in octogenarians rather than in younger patients. Few hard data on this possibility are available.
Methods: The study group comprises all 44 patients greater than or equal to 80 years old (mean age 82 years) who underwent aortic valve replacement at our institution between January 1981 and July 1989. A control group of 83 patients with a mean age of 70 years was matched with the study group for gender and approximate date of valve replacement. Before operation, 86% of the older patients versus 36% of the younger patients were in New York Heart Association functional class III or IV (p less than 0.001). Data were retrospectively collected from hospital records and a self-assessment telephone interview was conducted.
Results: The early mortality rate was 14% in the older group versus 4% in the younger group (p = 0.045). The duration of respirator support, intensive care and the total duration of the hospital stay did not differ significantly between groups. The incidence of postoperative low cardiac output syndrome was higher in the older group (p = 0.049), but the incidence of late valve-related complications was similar in the two groups. The 2-year survival rate (including data on patients who died early) was 73% in the older group and 90% in the younger group (p = NS). Six months postoperatively all patients but one were in functional class I or II.
Conclusions: Although the patients greater than or equal to 80 years old had a poorer preoperative status than that of younger patients, aortic valve replacement in this group did not require more use of hospital resources and resulted in a clinical improvement comparable to that of younger patients.