The gross surgical pathologic features of the mitral valve were reviewed in 712 patients who had undergone mitral valve replacement at our institution during 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, and 1985. Among the 452 cases of mitral stenosis, either with or without mitral insufficiency, 99% were attributable to postinflammatory disease and 1% were related to congenital mitral stenosis. Among the 260 cases of pure mitral regurgitation, the two most common causes were a floppy valve (38%) and postinflammatory disease (31%). Moreover, a floppy valve was observed in 73% of the 59 examples of chordal rupture and in 38% of the 16 cases of infective endocarditis. Women accounted for 73% of the 452 cases of mitral stenosis and for 72% of the 530 cases of postinflammatory disease. In contrast, men accounted for 58% of the 260 cases of pure mitral regurgitation, including 76% of the floppy valves and 69% of the infected valves. During the 21 years spanned by the study, the relative frequency of postinflammatory mitral insufficiency progressively decreased, whereas that of floppy mitral valves increased. It is unclear whether aging, heredity, environmental factors, changes in the frequency of acute rheumatic fever, or changes in patient referral practices may account for this observation.
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