Aortic Valve Replacement in the Elderly Effect of Gender and Coronary Artery Disease on Operative Mortality

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Abstract

Background

Aortic valve replacement remains the treatment of choice for aortic valve disease, even in the extreme elderly who may present with advanced symptoms. Defining risk factors for short-term survival was the object of this study.

Methods and Results

This was a retrospective analysis of 717 patients at least 70 years of age who underwent aortic valve replacement alone or with coronary artery bypass graft between 1980 and 1992. Age range was 70 to 95 years, and mean age was 77 years; there were 529 septuagenarians (74%); 188 were octogenarians (26%); 326 were women (45%); and 386 patients (54%) had aortic valve replacement and coronary artery bypass graft. Atrial fibrillation/flutter or heart block was present in 16%, and 34% of patients were in New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class IV. Aortic stenosis was present in 88%, and mechanical prostheses were used in 22% of patients. There were 47 deaths, giving an overall operative mortality of 6.6%, with 4.2% for aortic valve replacement and 8.8% for aortic valve replacement and coronary artery bypass graft (P=.01). The operative mortality for aortic valve replacement was 2.9%o versus 10.3% for aortic valve replacement and coronary artery bypass graft in women (P=.006). The corresponding values for men were 5.6% and 7.4% (P=.31). Multivariate logistic regression showed coronary artery bypass graft and NYHA class IV to be significant predictors of operative mortality in women. The significant predictors in men were NYHA class IV, atrial fibrillation/flutter or heart block rhythm, and the use of mechanical prosthesis. Age was not a predictor of operative mortality in either sex.

Conclusions

Aortic valve replacement carries an acceptable mortality rate in elderly patients. Female gender was a significant predictor of operative mortality in the concomitant coronary artery bypass graft group; however, gender was not a predictor of operative mortality in the isolated aortic valve replacement group. Advance stage of the disease process represented by NYHA class IV was a significant predictor of mortality for the whole group, stressing the need for earlier referral for surgery.

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