Background: Gender-related differences in morbidity and mortality are well described for coronary artery bypass grafting but are not well understood for combined valve and bypass surgery.
Methods: We reviewed retrospectively the morbidity and mortality of 1570 consecutive patients who underwent combined valve and bypass procedures at the Toronto General Hospital between January 1990 and October 2000.
Results: There were 1073 men (68%) and 497 women (32%). The mean ages (+/- 1 SD) of women and men were 69 +/- 9 and 68 +/- 9 years, respectively (P =.02). Of the 1570 total patients, 973 patients (62%) underwent aortic valve and coronary bypass surgery, 481 patients (31%) had mitral valve and coronary bypass operations, and 116 (7%) patients had double or triple valve and coronary bypass operations. Preoperative hypertension (P =.002), diabetes (P =.001), and atrial fibrillation (P =.001) were seen more frequently in women. Body surface area was significantly lower in women (P =.0001). At presentation, more women were in congestive heart failure (69% vs 58%, P =.001) and in New York Heart Association functional class III or IV (25% vs 19%, P =.001). Although there was no difference in the number of women with three or more diseased vessels (32% vs 38%), only 35% of women received three or more grafts compared with 44% of men (P =.001). The use of left internal thoracic grafts, although uncommon in the whole study population (36%), was less common in women than in men (26% vs 41%, P =.001). Multivariable logistic analyses for morbidity and mortality showed female gender to be an independent risk factor. Mitral valve replacement, age, left ventricular dysfunction, New York Heart Association classes III and IV, and association of tricuspid valve disease, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, and preoperative renal failure were found to be independent risk factors for mortality.
Conclusion: Female gender is an independent risk factor for combined morbidity and mortality during and after combined valve and coronary bypass surgery. As with isolated coronary artery bypass grafting, women undergoing combined procedures have more premorbid conditions, are more often in heart failure, had an equal incidence of triple vessel disease but received fewer grafts than men, and, therefore, were more frequently incompletely revascularized.