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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2001 Aug;122(2):257-69.

Twenty-year comparison of tissue and mechanical valve replacement.

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Divisions of Cardiothoracic Surgery, The Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Burns & Allen Research Institute, University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA.



We sought to compare outcomes with tissue and St Jude Medical mechanical valves over a 20-year period.


Valve-related events and overall survival were analyzed in 2533 patients 18 years of age or older undergoing initial aortic, mitral, or combined aortic and mitral (double) valve replacement with a tissue valve (Hancock, Carpentier-Edwards porcine, or Carpentier-Edwards pericardial) or a St Jude Medical mechanical valve. Total follow-up was 13,390 patient-years. There were 666 St Jude Medical aortic valve replacements, 723 tissue aortic valve replacements, 513 St Jude Medical mitral valve replacements, 402 tissue mitral valve replacements, 161 St Jude Medical double valve replacements, and 68 tissue double valve replacements. The mean age was 68 +/- 13.3 years (St Jude Medical valve, 64.5 +/- 12.9; tissue valve, 72.0 +/- 12.6).


There were no overall differences in survival between tissue and mechanical valves. Multivariable analysis indicated that the type of valve did not affect survival. Analysis by age less than 65 years or 65 years or older and presence or absence of coronary disease revealed similar long-term survival in all subgroups. The risk of hemorrhage was lower in patients receiving tissue aortic valve replacements but was not significantly different in patients receiving mitral valve or double valve replacements. Thromboembolism rates were similar for tissue and mechanical valve recipients. However, reoperation rates were significantly higher in patients receiving both aortic and mitral tissue valves. The reoperation hazard increased progressively with time both in patients receiving aortic and in those receiving mitral tissue valves. Overall valve complications were initially higher with mechanical aortic valves but not with mechanical mitral valves. However, valve complication rates later crossed over, with higher rates in tissue valve recipients after 7 years in patients undergoing mitral valve replacement and 10 years in those undergoing aortic valve replacement.


Tissue and mechanical valve recipients have similar survival over 20 years of follow-up. The primary tradeoff is an increased risk of hemorrhage in patients receiving mechanical aortic valve replacements and an increased risk of late reoperation in all patients receiving tissue valve replacements. The risk of tissue valve reoperation increases progressively with time.

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