-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Nov. 19, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- A growing number of
American seniors are having heart valve replacements, and their
risk of complications and death from the surgery is decreasing, new
"Aortic valve replacement is standard treatment even for very elderly patients despite its risks in this age group," according to background information in the study, which appeared Nov. 17 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Traditionally, this surgery has involved coronary artery bypass
graft surgery. In this procedure, a surgeon takes blood vessels
from other parts of the body and uses them to reroute blood flow
around a blocked blood vessel in the heart.
A less invasive method called transcatheter aortic valve
replacement is a newer option that is also being used, the
They wanted an updated look at results following heart valve
replacement surgeries, so they analyzed data from nearly 83 million
Medicare patients who underwent the procedure between 1999 and
2011. During that time, the amount of these surgeries being
performed increased in all age, sex and race groups, and most
notably among patients aged 75 and older.
Death rates 30 days after the procedure decreased by an average
of 4.1 percent a year during the study period, while death rates
one year after the procedure fell by 2.5 percent, according to a
journal news release.
Readmissions to the hospital 30 days after the procedure
decreased by 1.1 percent per year.
Use of the more invasive bypass surgery also decreased during
the study period.
"These findings may provide a useful benchmark for outcomes of aortic valve replacement surgery for older patients eligible for surgery [who are] considering newer transcatheter treatments," said researcher Dr. Jose Augusto Barreto-Filho, of the Federal University of Sergipe, in Brazil.
The Society of Thoracic Surgeons has more about
heart valve replacement.
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