Pacemaker Therapy After Tricuspid Valve Operations: Implications on Mortality, Morbidity, and Quality of Life

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We studied the incidence and predictors of permanent pacemaker implantation after tricuspid valve operation and its implications on patient outcome in terms of survival, morbidity, and quality of life.


Between 1992 and 2007, 136 consecutive patients underwent tricuspid valve repair or valve replacement with a biologic valve at Kuopio University Hospital. Comprehensive clinical data were recorded prospectively. Data for the Nottingham Health Profile quality of life analysis were collected cross-sectionally.


The mean follow-up time was 7.9 ± 4.1 years (range, 0.8 to 15.7 years). A pacemaker was implanted in 28 patients (21%); 54% were implanted before hospital discharge. The 10-year survival of patients with a pacemaker was higher (94%) than of patients without a pacemaker (59%;p= 0.050). The need of a pacemaker was related to a significantly higher rate of transient ischemic attacks (30% vs 6%,p= 0.004), strokes (9% vs 4%;p= 0.008), and impaired physical capacity in terms of higher New York Heart Association functional class (p= 0.03) and the quality of life scores describing energy (31 vs 17;p= 0.01) and mobility (32 vs 17;p= 0.005).


The need for pacemaker implantation after tricuspid valve operations was high. Unexpectedly, the life expectancy of the patients who needed a pacemaker postoperatively was higher compared with those who did not. This beneficial effect on mortality was offset by impaired morbidity: patients with a pacemaker experienced a significantly higher rate of thromboembolic complications and impaired quality of life.

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