Objectives: Guidelines proposed bioprosthesis implantation for aortic valve disease if the patients were at least 65 years old at the time of surgery, with a trend towards even younger patients in recent years. Considering the adverse effects of lifetime anticoagulation, new biological valves (less prone to degeneration) and new technologies may lead patients and surgeons to different choices. Therefore, it is interesting to analyse the results of aortic bioprosthetic valve replacement in patients aged <65 years at the time of surgery.
Methods: From January 2000 to December 2010, 84 patients aged <65 years at the time of surgery had undergone an aortic bio-prosthetic valve replacement. A mid-term follow-up [(FU) mean FU time: 54.4 ± 39.2 months] was done in August 2011 in all patients (FU completeness: 100%). Results were compared with patients who had a mechanical prosthetic aortic valve replacement during the same period.
Results: The reoperation rate for structural valve degeneration (SVD) of bioprostheses was 6% and occurred exclusively among patients <56 years. Contraindications for anticoagulation determined the choice of a bioprosthesis among 83% of these patients. The personal preference to avoid anticoagulation was the leading cause in 68% of the older patients (56-65 years). Neurological complications occurred more frequently in the mechanical control group.
Conclusions: Reoperations for SVD after bioprosthesis implantation occurred exclusively among younger patients (<56 years), not suitable for systemic anticoagulation. Previous studies, together with our experience, are in favour of an age limit between 56 and 60 years, taking into consideration alternative transcatheter approaches to SVD treatment.