Forty percent of 7.4 million Americans aged 80 years and older have symptomatic heart disease. Controversy exists as to whether the health care resources allotted to this patient subset represent a cost-effective approach to attaining a meaningful quality of life. Although aortic valve surgery carries greater risks in older than in younger patients, published studies reveal that the elderly should not be denied this procedure.Methods and Results
To determine the results of aortic valve replacement (AVR) in an elderly population, we retrospectively analyzed 171 consecutive patients aged 80 to 91 years (mean, 82.6 years; 86 men and 85 women) who underwent AVR at the Texas Heart Institute between 1975 and 1991. Seventy-seven patients had AVR only, and 94 patients had concomitant surgical procedures (coronary artery bypass graft surgery, 75 patients; mitral valve replacement, mitral valve repair, aneurysm repair, 19 patients). The overall 30-day early mortality was 17.5%. The early mortality was 5.2% for patients with AVR only and 27.7% for those with concomitant surgical procedures. Statistical analysis of 17 perioperative variables revealed that left ventricular ejection fraction of less than 45%, hypertension, congestive heart failure, angina, and concomitant surgical procedures were significant univariate predictors of early mortality. Multivariate analysis revealed that left ventricular ejection fraction of less than 45%, hypertension, and concomitant surgical procedures were independent predictors of operative mortality. Mean follow-up of survivors was 39 months. The overall actuarial survival at 1, 3, and 5 years was 90.8%, 84.2%, and 76.0%, respectively.Conclusions
These results show that AVR can be performed with acceptable operative risks in the elderly. This study further shows that isolated AVR can be done with low operative mortality and that the performance of concomitant surgical procedures exposes elderiy patients to higher operative risks.