Many studies have suggested that volatile anesthetic use may improve postoperative outcomes after cardiac surgery compared to total intravenous anesthesia (TIVA) owing to its potential cardioprotective effect. However, the results were inconclusive, and few studies have included patients undergoing heart valve surgery.
This nationwide population-based study included all adult patients who underwent heart valve surgery between 2010 and 2019 in Korea based on data from a health insurance claim database. Patients were divided based on the use of volatile anesthetics: the volatile anesthetics or TIVA groups. After stabilized inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW), the association between the use of volatile anesthetics and the risk of cumulative 1-year all-cause mortality (the primary outcome) and cumulative long-term (beyond 1 year) mortality were assessed using Cox regression analysis.
Of the 30,755 patients included in this study, the overall incidence of 1-year mortality was 8.5%. After stabilized IPTW, the risk of cumulative 1-year mortality did not differ in the volatile anesthetics group compared to the TIVA group (hazard ratio, 0.98; 95% confidence interval, 0.90–1.07; P = .602), nor did the risk of cumulative long-term mortality (hazard ratio, 0.98; 95% confidence interval, 0.93–1.04; P = .579) at a median (interquartile range) follow-up duration of 4.8 (2.6–7.6) years.
Compared with TIVA, volatile anesthetic use was not associated with reduced postoperative mortality risk in patients undergoing heart valve surgery. Our findings indicate that the use of volatile anesthetics does not have a significant impact on mortality after heart valve surgery. Therefore, the choice of anesthesia type can be based on the anesthesiologists’ or institutional preference and experience.
- Question: Does mortality after heart valve surgery differ according to the use of volatile anesthetics?
- Findings: In this nationwide population-based study of 30,755 patients who underwent heart valve surgery, the use of volatile anesthetics compared to total intravenous anesthesia was not significantly associated with reduced cumulative 1-year mortality and longer-term all-cause mortality.
- Meaning: Volatile anesthetic use and total intravenous anesthesia may be comparable for heart valve surgery. Further, prospective studies on the effect of type of anesthesia on mortality after heart valve surgery are required.