Reoperative valve surgery in the elderly: predictors of risk and long-term survival

Ann Thorac Surg. 2010 Oct;90(4):1195-200; discussion 1201. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2010.04.057.


Background: Elderly patients requiring reoperative cardiac surgery for valve disease are considered high risk for immediate outcomes, but little is known about their long-term survival. It is often conjectured that medical therapy provides equivalent late survival in this population, which may dissuade both patient and surgeon from considering reoperation. We analyzed a cohort of such patients undergoing reoperative valve surgery to determine their long-term survival.

Methods: From 1992 through 2007, 363 patients aged 75 years or more underwent reoperative isolated valve surgery; 211 (58%) had aortic valve replacement and 152 (42%) had mitral valve surgery. Mean age was 80.5 years. Hospital outcomes were prospectively recorded. Survival from all-cause death was determined from the Social Security Death Index.

Results: Hospital mortality was 13.8% (12.8% for aortic and 15.1% for mitral valve operations; p = 0.52). Multivariable predictors of hospital death were New York Heart Association functional class III or IV heart failure (odds ratio = 3.19, p = 0.012), dialysis (odds ratio = 15.63, p = 0.003), and more than one reoperation (odds ratio = 2.59, p = 0.058). At 5 years, overall survival was 62% ± 3% for all patients (66% ± 4% for aortic and 56% ± 4% for mitral valve patients). For aortic valve patients aged 80 years or more, 5-year survival was 60% ± 0.6%. Life expectancy table analysis predicted a 5-year survival of 57% for an age-matched and sex-matched comparison group.

Conclusions: Reoperative surgery for elderly patients with isolated aortic or mitral valve pathology is associated with excellent long-term survival, particularly when treating aortic valve disease. While in-hospital mortality is higher among the elderly than among younger patients, specific predictors of poor outcome can be identified preoperatively to risk stratify these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aortic Valve / surgery*
  • Female
  • Heart Valve Diseases / surgery*
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis Implantation / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mitral Valve / surgery*
  • Prognosis
  • Reoperation
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome