Prosthetic aortic valve selection: current patient experience, preferences and knowledge

Open Heart. 2015 Apr 8;2(1):e000237. doi: 10.1136/openhrt-2015-000237. eCollection 2015.


Objective: Current clinical practice guidelines advocate shared decision-making (SDM) in prosthetic valve selection. This study assesses among adult patients accepted for aortic valve replacement (AVR): (1) experience with current clinical decision-making regarding prosthetic valve selection, (2) preferences for SDM and risk presentation and (3) prosthetic valve knowledge and numeracy.

Methods: In a prospective multicentre cohort study, AVR patients were surveyed preoperatively and 3 months postoperatively.

Results: 132 patients (89 males/43 females; mean age 67 years (range 23-86)) responded preoperatively. Decisional conflict was observed in 56% of patients, and in 25% to such an extent that it made them feel unsure about the decision. 68% wanted to be involved in decision-making, whereas 53% agreed that they actually were. 69% were able to answer three basic knowledge questions concerning prosthetic valves correctly. 56% were able to answer three basic numeracy questions correctly. Three months postsurgery, 90% (n=110) were satisfied with their aortic valve prosthesis, with no difference between mechanical and bioprosthetic valve recipients.

Conclusions: In current clinical practice, many AVR patients experience decisional conflict and suboptimal involvement in prosthetic valve selection, and exhibit impaired knowledge concerning prosthetic valves and numeracy. Given the broad support for SDM among AVR patients and the obvious need for understandable information, to-be-developed tools to support SDM in the setting of prosthetic valve selection will help to improve quality of decision-making, better inform and actively involve patients, and reduce decisional conflict.

Trial registration number: NTR3618.