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The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2022 February;63(1):106-13

DOI: 10.23736/S0021-9509.21.11945-7


language: English

Medical malpractice in aortic valve and mitral valve replacement surgery in North America

Ashwin PALANIAPPAN 1 , Frank W. SELLKE 1, 2

1 Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA; 2 Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI, USA

BACKGROUND: Aortic and mitral valve replacement are commonly performed by cardiovascular surgeons, but little data quantitatively analyzes the etiology and prevalence of medical malpractice litigations involving these operations. This study aims to analyze incidence, cause, and resolution of medical malpractice lawsuits involving aortic and mitral valve replacements, alone and in combination with coronary artery bypass and/or aortic procedures.
METHODS: The Westlaw legal database was utilized to compile relevant litigations across the United States from 1994-2019. Clinical data, verdict data, demographic data, and litigation attributes were compiled. Fisher’s Exact Tests and Mann-Whitney tests were performed for statistical analyses. One hundred four malpractice litigations involving aortic valve replacement and 55 litigations involving mitral valve replacement were included in this analysis. The mean age of patients was 55.2 years and proportion of female patients was 32.7% in aortic valve replacements litigations, compared to a mean age of 54.1 years and female patients in 61.8% of mitral valve replacements litigations.
RESULTS: Significant relationships exist between an alleged failure to monitor the patient and defendant verdicts (P=0.01), delayed treatment and defendant verdicts (P=0.04), and incidence of infective endocarditis and plaintiff verdicts (P=0.04) in aortic valve replacement litigations. Similarly, significant relationships exist between an alleged failure to diagnose and settlement verdicts (P=0.047), and stroke incidence and defendant verdicts (P=0.03) in mitral valve replacement litigations.
CONCLUSIONS: In addition to excellent surgeon patient/family communication, administering surgical treatment in a timely manner, diagnosing acting on concomitant medical conditions, and close patient monitoring may diminish medical malpractice litigation involving aortic and mitral valve replacement operations.

KEY WORDS: Transcatheter aortic valve replacement; Mitral valve; Malpractice

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