Surgical management of aortic valve disease in the elderly: A retrospective comparative study of valve choice using propensity score analysis

Kevin D Accola, Meredith L Scott, George J Palmer, Paul A Thompson, Mark E Sand, Jorge E Suarez-Cavalier, Jeffrey N Bott, George Ebra
Journal of Heart Valve Disease 2008, 17 (4): 355-64; discussion 365

BACKGROUND AND AIM OF THE STUDY: Aortic valve dysfunction is the most common form of valvular heart disease. As the population continues to age, a greater number of patients will become candidates for aortic valve replacement (AVR); hence, prosthetic valve choice becomes of paramount importance.

METHODS: A retrospective analysis was conducted on 801 patients aged > or =65 years who underwent isolated AVR or AVR + coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) between January 1989 and June 2003 with a Carpentier Edwards Perimount (CEP) pericardial bioprosthesis (n = 398) or a St. Jude Medical (SJM) mechanical valve (n = 403). The mean age of CEP patients was 74.5 years (range: 65-89 years), and of SJM patients 73.9 years (range: 65-90 years). The follow up was 96.2% and 96.5% complete for CEP and SJM patients, respectively. Propensity scoring was used to establish homogeneity of the groups and reduce bias.

RESULTS: The operative mortality was 4.0% (n = 16) among CEP patients and 6.5% (n = 26) among SJM patients. Predictors of hospital mortality included: peripheral vascular disease (p = 0.018), surgical urgency (p = 0.010), preoperative intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) (p = 0.010), intraoperative perfusion time (p = 0.046) and intraoperative IABP (p = 0.001). Postoperative morbidities were similar for the two groups. The mean follow up was 72.4 and 59.2 months for CEP and SJM patients, respectively. The five-year actuarial survival was 70.9 +/- 2.3% for CEP and 71.8 +/- 2.4% for SJM patients; at 10 years the actuarial survival was 32.6 +/- 3.3% and 38.2 +/- 3.8%, respectively. Freedom from reoperation for AVR, stroke and non-fatal myocardial infarction was 98.8% (159/161), 99.4% (160/161) and 99.4% (160/161), respectively, in CEP patients, and 100.0% (220/220), 97.7% (215/220) and 97.7% (215/220), respectively, in SJM patients (p = NS). Predictors of late death (>30 days) included chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (p = 0.001) and mechanical valve replacement (p = 0.001).

CONCLUSION: In comparable elderly patients, the outcomes of CEP and SJM valves after AVR showed no significant differences in hospital morbidity, mortality, mid-term survival or late cardiac events. However, the cumulative risk of lifelong anticoagulation with a mechanical valve is a serious consideration that must be factored into the selection algorithm.

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