Quality of life in patients with bioprostheses and mechanical prostheses. Evaluation of cohorts of patients aged 51 to 65 years at implantation.
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BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was 3-fold: to compare the quality of life (QOL) in age- and sex-matched patients who received biological and mechanical prosthetic valves in isolated aortic valve replacement, to compare the QOL of patients with aortic valve replacement with the general population, and to compare patients with biological and mechanical prostheses with certain valve-specific questions and relate these responses to overall QOL. METHODS AND RESULTS: Patient-perceived QOL was evaluated in 200 patients who were sampled from a population of 420 patients (age range 51 to 65 years) who underwent isolated aortic valve replacement in the period of 1986 to 1996. One hundred of the sampled patients had a mechanical valve inserted and an equal number had porcine bioprostheses. Three survey instruments were used to examine perceived QOL: the SF-12 form, a 7-valve specific question form, and the Lamy Smiley Faces form. The response to the questionnaires was 89.5% (179 patients). Patients with mechanical valves were more bothered by valve sounds (P < 0.01) and had a negative correlation (P < 0.01) between valve sound and QOL on the mental scale only. Patients with biological valves were more fearful of the need for reoperation (P < 0.01), but there was no correlation between fear and QOL. The mechanical valve group had a negative correlation (P < 0.01) between fear of reoperation and QOL on both the mental and physical scales. There was no difference between the 2 cohorts with respect to fear of valve failure. Patients with mechanical valves were more concerned about frequency of medical visits and blood tests (P < 0.01) as well as the possibility of anticoagulant-related bleeding events (P < 0.01). QOL was equivalent between the 2 groups and to the general population for the same age group. Ninety-seven percent of the patients indicated they would make the same surgical decision again with regard to valve replacement; there was no difference between the 2 valve groups on this question. CONCLUSIONS: Patient-perceived QOL is similar between patients with aortic mechanical and biological valve replacement in the studied age group and comparable to the general population of similar age. Although certain valve-specific differences exist between the 2 prosthetic types, these differences do not appear to affect overall QOL as described by these patients.
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