A total of 392 patients have undergone prosthetic valve surgery including the mitral valve over a four-year period (1972-76). Of these patients 56 (14%) had a pulmonary artery systolic pressure of 70 mmHg or more during preoperative cardiac catheterisation and the hospital mortality of this group was 5.4%. Similarly, the hospital mortality of the remaining 336 patients with a pulmonary artery pressure below 70 mmHg was 5.4%. The presence of pulmonary hypertension in patients with valve disease including the mitral valve does not therefore indicate that the risk of dying in hospital as a consequence of corrective surgery is increased. The absence of a raised hospital mortality in this recent series may be attributed to improved surgical techniques and materials, while the use of droperidol and pentolinium which may reduce pulmonary vascular resistance as well as systemic resistance during surgery could be contributory.
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