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Mitral Valve Surgery Outcomes Improve for Elderly Patients

Study shows restoration of life expectancy now similar to younger patients

MONDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- While mitral valve surgery is riskier for elderly patients, significant improvements have been made in the procedure so that the restoration of life expectancy is similar to that of younger patients who have the surgery, according to a report in the July 25 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Maurice Enriquez-Sarano, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues examined the baseline characteristics of 1,344 patients who underwent surgery for mitral valve regurgitation between 1980 and 1995, their outcomes, and trends in surgical improvement.

The investigators found that while patients aged 75 years and older had shorter survival after surgery, they had a similar restoration of life expectancy as younger patients. The improvements in outcome were likely due to lower operative mortality, lower declines in cardiac output and shorter hospital stay. Over time, operative mortality declined from 27 percent to 5 percent in those 75 years and older, from 21 percent to 4 percent in those aged 65 to 74 and from 7 percent to 2 percent in those under 65 years of age.

"Restoration of life expectancy after surgery is similar in elderly and younger patients, and outstanding recent surgical improvements particularly benefited elderly patients," the authors write. "Thus, elderly patients with mitral regurgitation can now carefully be considered for surgery before refractory heart failure is present."

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