Background: Degenerative mitral valve repair rates remain highly variable, despite established benefits of repair over replacement. The contribution of surgeon-specific factors is poorly defined.
Objectives: This study evaluated the influence of surgeon case volume on degenerative mitral valve repair rates and outcomes.
Methods: A mandatory New York State database was queried and 5,475 patients were identified with degenerative mitral disease who underwent mitral valve operations between 2002 and 2013. Mitral repair rates, mitral reoperations within 12 months of repair, and survival were analyzed using multivariable Cox modeling and restricted cubic spline function.
Results: Median annual surgeon volume of any mitral operations was 10 (range 1 to 230), with a mean repair rate of 55% (n = 20,797 of 38,128). In the subgroup of patients with degenerative disease, the mean repair rate was 67% (n = 3,660 of 5,475), with a range of 0% to 100%. Mean repair rates ranged from 48% (n = 179 of 370) for surgeons with total annual volumes of ≤10 mitral operations to 77% (n = 1,710 of 2,216) for surgeons with total annual volumes of >50 mitral operations (p < 0.001). Higher total annual surgeon volume was associated with increased repair rates of degenerative mitral valve disease (adjusted odds ratio [OR]: 1.13 for every additional 10 mitral operations; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.10 to 1.17; p < 0.001); a steady decrease in reoperation risk until 25 total mitral operations annually; and improved 1-year survival (adjusted hazard ratio: 0.95 for every additional 10 operations; 95% CI: 0.92 to 0.98; p = 0.001). For surgeons with a total annual volume of ≤25 mitral operations, repair rates were higher (63.8%; n = 180 of 282) if they operated in the same institution as a surgeon with total annual mitral volumes of >50 and degenerative mitral valve repair rates of >70%, compared with surgeons operating in the other institutions (51.3%; n = 580 of 1,130) (adjusted OR: 1.79; 95% CI: 1.24 to 2.60; p < 0.001).
Conclusions: This study suggests that individual surgeon volume is a determinant of not only mitral repair rates, but also freedom from reoperation, and survival. The data from this study support the guideline's concept of reference referral to experienced mitral surgeons to improve outcomes in patients with degenerative mitral valve disease.
Keywords: mitral valve repair; mitral valve replacement; surgical volume.
Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Inc.