Repair of anterior leaflet prolapse: Chordal transfer is superior to chordal shortening

N. G. Smedira*, R. Selman, D. M. Cosgrove, P. M. McCarthy, B. W. Lytle, P. C. Taylor, C. Apperson-Hansen, R. W. Stewart, F. D. Loop

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Several techniques are currently used to repair anterior leaflets with elongated or ruptured chordae. To evaluate the efficacy of these techniques, we analyzed the case histories of 108 patients operated on from 1989 through 1992 with degenerative mitral valve disease and prolapse of the anterior leaflet. The mean age was 59 ± 15 years (range 18 to 87 years) and 74 (69%) were male. Methods: Chordal shortening was performed in 31 (29%) and chordal transfer in 77 (71%) of the repairs. Of the transfers, 58 (75%) were from the posterior to the anterior leaflet and 16 (21%) were from the secondary to the primary position of the anterior leaflet. Three patients had both types of transfers. Seventy-one (66%) patients had isolated repairs and the remainder had associated procedures. The degree of preoperative mitral regurgitation was 3+ or greater for 107 (99%) of the patients, mean 3.4 for shortening and 3.7 for transfer. Results: Four (4.0%) hospital deaths occurred, none after isolated repair. Follow-up of hospital survivors was 100% complete at a mean of 4.0 years. A total of 421 patient-years of follow-up were available for analysis. There were seven late deaths, for a 5-year actuarial survival of 93%. Eleven patients underwent reoperation for recurrent mitral regurgitation. Five-year actuarial freedom from reoperation was 90%-96% after chordal transfer and 74% after chordal shortening, p = 0.003. Independent predictors for reoperation include chordal shortening and preoperative New York Heart Association functional class III or IV. The mechanism of valve failure in six of seven patients undergoing reoperation after chordal shortening was rupture of the previously shortened chordae. Conclusions: We conclude that chordal transfer is superior to chordal shortening, providing a more predictable correction of mitral regurgitation and a lower incidence of reoperation. Reoperations after chordal shortening are a result of rupture of the previously shortened chordae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-292
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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