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J Heart Valve Dis. 1992 Nov;1(2):189-95.

Exercise tolerance and working capacity after valve replacement.

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  • 1Cardiological Rehabilitation Center, Bad Krozingen, FRG.


Between 1978 and 1987, 1270 patients who survived single aortic or mitral valve replacement at the Rehabilitation Center in Bad Krozingen, Germany, underwent a comprehensive rehabilitation program. The preoperative diagnosis was isolated aortic stenosis in 425, isolated aortic regurgitation in 159, mixed aortic lesion in 211, isolated mitral stenosis in 208, isolated mitral insufficiency in 137 and mixed mitral lesion in 130 cases. Follow up examinations were carried out one and six months after surgery, and at yearly intervals thereafter. Exercise testing was performed with an electrically braked bicycle ergometer in the supine position, and the load was increased by 25 or 50 watts every two minutes until fatigue, severe angina, more than 0.3 mV ST-segment depression, or 80% of the age predicted maximum heart rate was achieved. Patients after aortic valve replacement had a better exercise performance one month after operation than did those after mitral valve replacement. Those with mitral stenosis showed more severe impairment of exercise tolerance than did the mitral insufficiency group. There was a steady increase in exercise tolerance between one and six months postoperatively, both in patients with aortic and those with mitral valve replacement, but the difference in performance between the two groups was still present (72% versus 57% of normal). The results of univariate and multivariate analyses showed that the preoperative employment status was the most important factor for postoperative return to work, followed by gender (male > female), exercise tolerance and valualar lesion (aortic > mitral).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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