Analysis of risk factors for excess mortality after aortic valve replacement

H. A. Verheul, R. B. van den Brink, B. J. Bouma, G. Hoedemaker, A. C. Moulijn, Egbert Dekker, P. Bossuyt, A. J. Dunning

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OBJECTIVES. This study sought to identify risk factors for both late observed and late "excess" mortality after aortic valve replacement and to examine the causes of late mortality. BACKGROUND. Because operative mortality after aortic valve replacement is very low, the timing of surgical intervention should focus on maximizing long-term survival. However, to judge the effect of valve replacement on long-term survival in an elderly population, it is important to separate mortality resulting from extraneous causes (background mortality) from disease-related mortality (excess mortality). Background mortality can be estimated by calculating expected mortality on the basis of age and gender. METHODS. From 1966 to 1986, 643 patients (mean age 59.6 years, 138 [21%] > or = 70 years old) underwent aortic valve replacement, 129 of whom also underwent coronary bypass grafting; 594 patients survived > or = 30 days after the procedure. The overall operative mortality rate for isolated aortic valve replacement decreased over time from 25.5% (1966 to 1972) to 2.6% (1980 to 1986). Cumulative total follow-up after discharge was 3,603 patient-years. Multivariate analysis was performed for both observed and excess mortality. RESULTS. Risk factors for both observed and excess mortality were previous myocardial infarction, coronary artery disease, heart failure and atrial fibrillation. Although age > or = 70 years was a risk factor for observed mortality (hazard rate ratio [HRR] 2.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.6 to 3.7), it was not a risk factor for excess mortality. In contrast, isolated aortic regurgitation was an important risk factor for excess mortality only (HRR 3.8, 95% CI 1.3 to 11.2). Late mortality was valve related in 22% of patients, including sudden death in 7% and cerebral vascular accidents in 7%. Congestive heart failure was an important cause of death (21%) irrespective of the time elapsed since aortic valve replacement. In patients with aortic regurgitation, congestive heart failure was the main cause of death (38%); in patients with aortic regurgitation and preoperative heart failure or severe left ventricular dysfunction, heart failure was the cause of death in 44% and 63%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS. Analysis of excess mortality revealed that older age in itself is not a risk factor for late mortality after aortic valve replacement. Aortic regurgitation carries a high risk, probably associated with left ventricular dysfunction at the time of operation. Earlier operation may be warranted in such patients
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1280-1286
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1995

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