Of the 614 open-heart operations performed at the Mayo Clinic for acquired aortic valvular disease, 130 were performed on patients who also required repair of other valves. Review of the remaining 484 operations resulted in the following observations.
Operation for acquired aortic valvular disease may now be accomplished with a hospital mortality rate of 4%. The incidence of late death and failure of patients to improve has averaged 44% for previously employed techniques of valvular repair. Failure of the valve or prosthesis to function properly was the most common cause of late failure after operations in which these earlier methods were used. In the 138 more recent cases, in which operations employing the aortic ball valve (Starr-Edwards prosthesis) were used, the incidence of late failure has been reduced to 14%, and failure of the prosthesis to function properly has not yet occurred in the absence of infection. Late bacterial endocarditis and thromboembolism were the most serious problems associated with use of the ball-valve prosthesis. In contrast with the late results of the former techniques, use of the ball valve has resulted in improvement for 79% of the patients; in the great majority of these there has been a dramatic return to normal living.
Despite the highly satisfactory results of current methods, the fact that 14% of patients have already died after an initially successful operative result, and that another 12% have suffered complications causing their late result to be less than totally satisfactory, indicates that the policy of recommending for operation only those patients who have significant and progressive cardiac disability should be continued.
- © 1965 American Heart Association, Inc.