Cardiologist and cardiac surgeon view on decision-making in prosthetic aortic valve selection: does profession matter?

Neth Heart J. 2014 Aug;22(7-8):336-43. doi: 10.1007/s12471-014-0564-6.


Aims: Assess and compare among Dutch cardiothoracic surgeons and cardiologists: opinion on (1) patient involvement, (2) conveying risk in aortic valve selection, and (3) aortic valve preferences.

Methods and results: A survey among 117 cardiothoracic surgeons and cardiologists was conducted. Group responses were compared using the Mann-Whitney U test. Most respondents agreed that patients should be involved in decision-making, with surgeons leaning more toward patient involvement (always: 83 % versus 50 % respectively; p < 0.01) than cardiologists. Most respondents found that ideally doctors and patients should decide together, with cardiologists leaning more toward taking the lead compared with surgeons (p < 0.01). Major risks of the therapeutic options were usually discussed with patients, and less common complications to a lesser extent. A wide variation in valve preference was noted with cardiologists leaning more toward mechanical prostheses, while surgeons more often preferred bioprostheses (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Patient involvement and conveying risk in aortic valve selection is considered important by cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons. The medical profession influences attitude with regard to aortic valve selection and patient involvement, and preference for a valve substitute. The variation in valve preference suggests that in most patients both valve types are suitable and aortic valve selection may benefit from evidence-based informed shared decision-making.