Objective: To compare the clinical characteristics, haemodynamic findings, and symptomatic outcome in four age groups of patients in the UK undergoing percutaneous mitral balloon valvotomy.
Design: A review of patients with mitral stenosis treated by balloon dilatation.
Setting: Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, a cardiac referral centre.
Results: Of 405 patients who had mitral balloon valvotomy, 19 were aged under 40 years, 101 aged 40–54, 173 aged 55–69, and 112 were 70 years old or more. Medical co-morbidity and Parsonnet score for risk at surgery increased notably with age. Older patients had greater symptomatic limitation and a more severe degree of mitral stenosis, with more valve degenerative change. The incidence of atrial fibrillation, mitral reflux, left ventricular impairment, coronary artery disease, and aortic valve disease increased progressively with age. Before balloon dilatation the right ventricular systolic and left atrial pressures were similar in all age groups, but younger patients had a higher transmitral gradient and cardiac output. After balloon dilatation the younger patients achieved a greater increase in valve area. Complications of balloon valvotomy were more common in the older patients. At five years after balloon dilatation the percentages of patients in each age group who were in New York Heart Association classes I and II were 87%, 63%, 36%, and 19%, respectively. Mortality at five years was 0%, 5%, 31%, and 59%.
Conclusions: Percutaneous balloon valvotomy gives a good haemodynamic and symptomatic result in patients under 55. In older patients improvement is often less pronounced and less sustained, but the procedure is a well tolerated palliative treatment for those unsuitable for surgery.