Optimal surgical management of severe ischemic mitral regurgitation: to repair or to replace?

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2012 Jun;143(6):1396-403. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2011.05.030. Epub 2011 Nov 4.


Background: Ischemic mitral regurgitation, a complication of myocardial infarction and coronary artery disease more generally, is associated with a high mortality rate and is estimated to affect 2.8 million Americans. With 1-year mortality rates as high as 40%, recent practice guidelines of professional societies recommend repair or replacement, but there remains a lack of conclusive evidence supporting either intervention. The choice between therapeutic options is characterized by the trade-off between reduced operative morbidity and mortality with repair versus a better long-term correction of mitral insufficiency with replacement. The long-term benefits of repair versus replacement remain unknown, which has led to significant variation in surgical practice.

Methods and results: This article describes the design of a prospective randomized clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of mitral valve repair and replacement in patients with severe ischemic mitral regurgitation. This trial is being conducted as part of the Cardiothoracic Surgical Trials Network. This article addresses challenges in selecting a feasible primary end point, characterizing the target population (including the degree of mitral regurgitation) and analytical challenges in this high mortality disease.

Conclusions: The article concludes by discussing the importance of information on functional status, survival, neurocognition, quality of life, and cardiac physiology in therapeutic decision making.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis Implantation* / adverse effects
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis Implantation* / mortality
  • Humans
  • Mitral Valve Annuloplasty* / adverse effects
  • Mitral Valve Annuloplasty* / mortality
  • Mitral Valve Insufficiency / diagnosis
  • Mitral Valve Insufficiency / etiology
  • Mitral Valve Insufficiency / mortality
  • Mitral Valve Insufficiency / surgery*
  • Myocardial Ischemia / complications*
  • Myocardial Ischemia / mortality
  • Prospective Studies
  • Research Design*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States