The operative mortality rate for mitral valve surgery has steadily declined over the past decade, with the current mortality rates reported to the Society of Thoracic Surgery Database in the region of 1.5% for mitral valve repair and 5.5% for mitral valve replacement. There is a suggestion that centers doing large numbers of repairs for degenerative mitral valve disease deliver especially low mortality. For example, David and colleagues1 had only five operative deaths in a series of 701 repairs over 20 years, De Bonis and associates2 reported 2 deaths in a series of 738 repairs over 13 years, while Gillinov and colleagues reported 3 deaths in 1072 repairs for degenerative disease over a-12 year period3. Performing a tricuspid repair at time of mitral valve repair does not appear to increase mortality risk4, but mortality rises to above 3% with concomitant coronary artery bypass surgery5. Complications rates are low for elective mitral valve repair for degenerative valve disease. In our series of 67 consecutive Barlow patients we observed one patient with mediastinitis, one re-operation for bleeding and no strokes6. Major neurological complications should be uncommon in the 1% range, although there are recent data suggesting that patients having surgery via minimally invasive approaches may have a higher incidence of stroke7. Meticulous myocardial preservation is imperative to obtaining good results as the period of aortic clamping is lengthy for complex repairs (in our Barlow’s series we had a mean cardiopulmonary bypass time of 191 minutes)6.
(1) David TE, Ivanov J, Armstrong S, Christie D, Rakowski H. A comparison of outcomes of mitral valve repair for degenerative disease with posterior, anterior, and bileaflet prolapse. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2005 November;130(5):1242-9.
(2) De BM, Lorusso R, Lapenna E et al. Similar long-term results of mitral valve repair for anterior compared with posterior leaflet prolapse. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2006 February;131(2):364-70.
(3) Gillinov AM, Cosgrove DM, Blackstone EH et al. Durability of mitral valve repair for degenerative disease. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 1998 November;116(5):734-43.
(4) Dreyfus GD, Corbi PJ, Chan KM, Bahrami T. Secondary tricuspid regurgitation or dilatation: which should be the criteria for surgical repair? Ann Thorac Surg 2005 January;79(1):127-32.
(5) Gillinov AM, Blackstone EH, Rajeswaran J et al. Ischemic versus degenerative mitral regurgitation: does etiology affect survival? Ann Thorac Surg 2005 September;80(3):811-9.
(6) Adams DH, Anyanwu A, Rahmanian PB, Abascal V, Salzberg SP, Filsoufi F. Larger Annuloplasty Rings Facilitate Mitral Valve Repair in Barlow's Syndrome. Ann Thorac Surg. 2006;82:2096-2101.
(7) Cheema FH, Martens TP, Duong JK et al. Comparison of Minimally Invasive Versus standard Approach to Mitral Valve Surgery: Results from an Audited State-Wide mandatory Database. Ann Thorac Surg. In press 2006.