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Valve repair improves the outcome of surgery for chronic severe aortic regurgitation: a propensity score analysis.

BACKGROUND: For patients with aortic regurgitation (AR), aortic valve (AV) repair represents an attractive alternative to AV replacement (AVR), because it does not expose patients to the risk of prosthetic valve complications. Although the durability of AV repair has been documented, its prognosis has not yet been compared with prognosis of AVR.

METHODS: We performed a propensity score analysis to match patients who underwent surgical correction of severe AR by either AVR or AV repair between 1995 and 2012. After matching, 44 pairs of patients were compared regarding baseline characteristics; overall survival; operative survival; cardiac events, including reoperations; recurrent AR; and New York Heart Association functional class at final follow-up.

RESULTS: Operative mortality was similar in the AV repair and AVR groups (2% vs 5%; P=.56). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis indicated a significantly better overall 9-year survival after AV repair than after AVR (87% vs 60%; P=.007). Cox proportional survival analysis demonstrated that the choice of treatment was an independent predictor of postoperative survival. Finally, AV repair resulted in a slight increase, albeit not statistically significant, in reoperation rate (8% vs 2%; log rank P=.35).

CONCLUSIONS: AV repair significantly improves postoperative outcomes in patients with AR and whenever feasible should probably be the preferred mode of surgical correction.

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