Aims: To evaluate the feasibility of papillary muscle shortening in a specific group of high risk patients with ischaemic mitral regurgitation undergoing mitral valve reconstruction.
Background: From January 1996 to December 1997, 712 (10.1%) out of a total of 7042 open heart patients underwent mitral valve surgery in our hospital. Mitral valve reconstruction was performed in 408 of these patients (57.3%) and valve replacement had to be performed in 304 patients (42.7%).
Methods: A specific technique of papillary muscle reconstruction was performed in 32 patients undergoing valve reconstruction (7.8%). These cases had degenerated and had developed fibrotic elongated papillary muscles, which resulted in prolapses of one or more parts of the mitral valve leaflets. The aetiology in this group of patients was ischaemic, requiring concomitant myocardial revascularization in 28 patients (87.5%) with a mean of 2.7 grafts/patient. All patients underwent papillary muscle shortening using a pericardium pledget-reinforced Polytetrafluoroethylene suture and annuloplasty with a Carpentier-Edwards Physio Annuloplasty Ring. Of these 32 patients, 17 (53.1%) were male, the mean age was 67.1+/-9.7 years (range 41 to 81 years) and all but one were in pre-operative NYHA class III or IV.
Results: There were two hospital deaths (6.2%). Postoperative Doppler echocardiography indicated satisfactory mitral valve function in all patients. Within the short mean follow-up period of 9.6+/-5.4 months (3 to 26 months) there was one non-cardiac-related death (3.1%). There was no need for reoperation, and no cases of thromboembolic and bleeding complications in the postoperative period. All patients were in NYHA functional class I or II at the time of follow-up.
Conclusion: Our results indicate that mitral valve repair is a safe treatment for this group of high risk patients, and that papillary muscle shortening is a valuable tool in these patients with ischaemic mitral regurgitation undergoing surgery.