Regional variation in prosthesis choice for aortic valve replacement in older patients.
BACKGROUND AND AIM OF THE STUDY: The study aim was to investigate regional practice patterns regarding aortic valve replacement (AVR) by comparing bioprosthetic versus mechanical valve usage in patients aged > or = 65 years, and to determine whether the choice of valve type for AVR in these patients varied by geographic region. METHODS: The details were acquired of all mechanical and bioprosthetic AVRs performed in patients aged > or = 65 years between 1999 and 2006, as contained in the Florida State Inpatient Database. By using a small area analysis, the patients' zip codes were aggregated into hospital referral regions based on where they were most likely to receive AVR. The regional rates of both mechanical and bioprosthetic AVR were then determined. RESULTS: Of 23,925 AVRs performed during this period, 15,368 involved a bioprosthetic aortic valve and 8,557 a mechanical aortic valve. Statewide, 64% of AVRs in these patients involved a bioprosthesis. Regional rates of mechanical AVRs varied widely, from 10% to 81%. CONCLUSION: Substantial regional differences were identified in practice patterns for AVR in patients aged > or = 65 years. This suggested that provider preference, in addition to patient pathology, would often determine the type of valve implanted.
Ehieli, EI; Karamlou, T; Diggs, BS; Walker, WL; Caddell, KA; de la Cruz, JS; Welke, KF
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