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Ann Thorac Surg. 2008 Jul;86(1):77-85; discussion 86. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2008.03.020.

Is mitral valve repair superior to replacement in elderly patients?

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Department of Surgery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.



Mitral valve replacement is more frequently performed and perceived to be equivalent to repair in elderly patients, despite the superiority of repair in younger patients. Our objective was to compare mitral repair to replacement in elderly patients age 75 years or older. Patients younger than 75 years undergoing mitral valve surgery served as a reference population.


Consecutive elderly patients undergoing operation for mitral regurgitation at our institution from 1998 to 2006 were reviewed. Elderly patients (mean age, 78.0 +/- 2.8 years) who underwent mitral repair (n = 70) or replacement (n = 47) were compared with cohorts of young patients (mean age, 58.9 +/- 9.3 years) who underwent repair (n = 100) or replacement (n = 98) during the same period. Patient details and outcomes were compared using univariate, multivariate, and Kaplan-Meier analyses.


Mitral replacement in elderly patients had higher mortality than repair (23.4%, 11 of 47 versus 7.1%, 5 of 70; p = 0.01) or as compared with either operation in the reference group (p < 0.0001). Postoperative stroke was higher in elderly replacement patients compared with repair (12.8%, 6 of 47 versus 0%; p = 0.003) or compared with either young cohort (p = 0.02). Compared with elderly repair patients, elderly replacement patients had more cerebrovascular disease (21.3%, 10 of 47 versus 4.3%, 3 of 70; p = 0.005) and rheumatic mitral valves (21.3%, 10 of 47 versus 0%; p = 0.0001). In the young group, overall complication and mortality were no different between replacement and repair. Long-term survival favored repair over replacement in elderly patients (p = 0.04). One elderly repair patient experienced late recurrence of persistent mitral regurgitation.


In patients age 75 years or older, mitral repair is associated with a lower risk of mortality, postoperative stroke, and prolonged intensive care unit and hospital stay compared with mitral replacement. Mitral repair can be performed in preference over replacement even in patients older than the age of 75.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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