Thirty-six patients, age 65 years and older, underwent open-heart valvular surgery at St. Mary's Long Beach (Calif) Hospital, from March 1964 through July 1971. With an average age of 68 years, 17 patients were functional class IV and 19 were functional class III. Fifteen had aortic valve replacement, 16 had mitral valve replacement, four had multiple valve replacement, and one had a commissurotomy.
Hospital deaths numbered 14 (39%). Causes of death included low cardiac output syndrome, lacerations of the ventricle, postoperative hemorrhage, coronary artery embolus, and arrhythmias. One patient died four months after discharge from the hospital; the cause of death was unknown. Late follow-up was done on the 21 surviving patients (average time was 31 months after discharge), with all patients now functionally class I or class II.