Increasing disadvantage of "watchful waiting" for repairing degenerative mitral valve disease

Farhang Yazdchi, Colleen G. Koch, Tomislav Mihaljevic, Rory Hachamovitch, Ashley M. Lowry, Jiayan He, A. Marc Gillinov, Eugene H. Blackstone, Joseph F. Sabik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background Successful durable repair of severe degenerative mitral regurgitation with low operative mortality encourages intervention in asymptomatic patients rather than "watchful waiting." Our objectives were to assess trends in patient characteristics, timing of intervention, and evolving surgical techniques at a high-volume center, and determine effects of these changes on outcomes after mitral valve (MV) repair over a 25-year period. Methods From January 1, 1985, to January 1, 2011, 5,902 patients underwent isolated repair (with or without tricuspid repair for functional regurgitation) for degenerative MV disease at Cleveland Clinic. For illustration, the experience is presented in 3 eras: 1985 to 1997 (era 1, n = 1,184), 1997 to 2005 (era 2, n = 2,400), and 2005 to 2011 (era 3, n = 2,318). Results In era 3, more patients were asymptomatic on presentation (44% in New York Heart Association [NYHA] class I vs 25% in era 1), with less heart failure (11% vs 29%) and atrial fibrillation (9.9% vs 23%). Full sternotomy decreased from era 1 (n = 1,100/93%) to era 2 (n = 602/25%) (era 3, n = 717/31%), and robotic surgery emerged (n = 577/25%) in era 3. Median length of stay shortened (era 1 = 7 days, era 2 = 5.9 days, era 3 = 5.2 days, p < 0.0001), and in-hospital mortality remained low (era 1 = 5/0.42%, era 2 = 5/0.21%, era 3 = 1/0.043%); 0.73% overall required reoperation on the repaired valve before discharge, and 97% had 0 to 1+ regurgitation at discharge. Conclusions Treatment trends over 25 years reveal that rather than watchful waiting, a more aggressive approach to degenerative MV disease, with earlier intervention for severe regurgitation in asymptomatic patients and less invasive operative techniques, is successful, safe, and effective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1992-2000
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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