Influence of patient age on procedural selection in mitral valve surgery

Ann Thorac Surg. 2010 Nov;90(5):1479-85; discussion 1485-6. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2010.05.075.


Background: Previous studies suggest that mitral valve replacement is comparable to repair in the elderly, and a national trend exists toward tissue valves. However, few direct comparison data are available, and this study evaluated the effects of patient age on risk-adjusted survival after mitral procedures.

Methods: From 1986 to 2006, 2,064 patients underwent isolated primary mitral operations (±CABG). Maximal follow-up was 20 years with a median of 5 years. Valve disease etiology was the following: degenerative, 864; ischemic, 450; rheumatic, 416; endocarditis, 98; and "other," 236. Overall, 58% had repair and 39% had concomitant coronary artery bypass grafting. Survival differences were evaluated with a Cox proportional hazards model that included baseline characteristics, valve disease etiology, and choice of repair versus replacement with tissue or mechanical valves.

Results: Baseline risk profiles generally were better for mechanical valves, and age was the most significant multivariable predictor of late mortality [hazard ratio = 1.4 per 10-year increment, Wald χ(2) = 32.7, p < 0.0001]. As compared with repair, risk-adjusted survival was inferior with either tissue valves [1.8, 27.6, <0.0001] or mechanical valves [1.3, 8.1, 0.0044], and no treatment interaction was observed with age (p = 0.18). At no patient age did tissue valves achieve equivalent survival to either repair or mechanical valves.

Conclusions: Mitral repair is associated with better survival than valve replacement across the spectrum of patient age. If replacement is required, mechanical valves achieve better outcomes, even in the elderly. These data suggest that tissue valves should be reserved only for patients with absolute contraindications to anticoagulation who are not amenable to repair.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Heart Valve Diseases / surgery
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis Implantation / methods*
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis Implantation / mortality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitral Valve / surgery*
  • Proportional Hazards Models