Background and aims of the study: Comparisons of mitral valve (MV) replacement and reconstruction have demonstrated lower overall complication rates, better left ventricular (LV) function, and inferred overall lower cost for the latter procedure compared with the former. However, assessment of economic differences between the two procedures in routine cases, without complications, has not been reported. This study retrospectively evaluates the economic impact of uncomplicated MV repair versus replacement.
Methods: As this study seeks only to evaluate economic comparisons between routine cases of mitral repair versus replacement, those patients having concomitant procedures performed (coronary revascularization or other valve procedure) or postoperative complications (i.e. pulmonary failure, wound infections, new-onset atrial fibrillation, return for bleeding, or neurologic sequelae) were excluded from the study. Among patients who underwent uncomplicated MV procedures, 30 were selected at random and reviewed.
Results: Variables for MV replacement versus reconstruction included aortic cross-clamp time (112 +/- 54 versus 92 +/- 20 min; p = NS), cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) time (189 +/- 70 versus 128 +/- 18 min; p < 0.05), total hospital stay (8.3 +/- 1.6 versus 5.6 +/- 1.6 days; p < 0.0001), and total hospital charges ($44,697 +/- 4903 versus $31,337 +/- 4484; p < 0.0001), respectively.
Conclusions: These data suggest that, beyond the recognized benefits of MV reconstruction, namely preservation of LV function and avoidance of long-term anticoagulation, there is an economic advantage to MV reconstruction for patients and payors, even in uncomplicated cases. These differences may become more apparent with longer follow-up and in patients having poor function or combined procedures. This finding reinforces the idea that MV reconstruction is the option of choice for patients with mitral regurgitation.