AIM The goal of aortic valve replacement (AVR) surgery in the elderly (= or >75 years) is to extend survival and minimize valve-related morbidity, mortality and reoperation. As the elderly population lives longer, those with implanted valves are at risk of suffering valve related complications. We hypothesize that bioprostheses are appropriate for the elderly. METHODS The follow-up evaluation of 966 patients with valves (AVR, 666; mitral valve replacements [MVR], 226; multiple valve replacements [MR], 74) implanted between 1975 and 1999 was examined. There were 879 bioprotheses (BP) and 87 mechanical prostheses (MP). The mean age was 78.9+/-3.3 years (range 75-94.6 years). Concomitant coronary artery bypass was performed in AVR in 51.7%, MVR in 50.4% and MR in 28.4%. Valve type, valve lesion, coronary artery bypass (previous/concomitant), age and gender were considered as independent predictors of composites and survival. The total follow-up was 3905 patient-years. RESULTS Early mortality was for AVR 9.6% (64), MVR 15.0% (34) and MR 25.7% (19). The late mortality was for AVR 8.8%, MVR 10.4% and MR 8.8%/patient-year. The only independent predictor of survival and valve-related mortality, morbidity and reoperation was age for survival in those with AVR, hazard ratio 1.15 [CL 1.03-1.27] p=0.0094). The BP reoperative rate was 0.5%/patient-year (reoperation was fatal in 6/15) of total, MP reoperative rate was 0% [reasons for reoperation structural valve deterioration (4), non-structural dysfunction (6), prosthetic valve endocarditis (5), reoperation fatality due to non-structural dysfunction (2), prosthetic valve endocarditis (4)]. Overall patient survival at 10 and 15 years, respectively, was 30.5+/-2.4% and 3.6+/-2.2% irrespective of valve position and type. Overall actual and actuarial freedom from valve-related morbidity at 15 years was 96.8+/-0.9% and 93.7+/-2.3%, respectively. Actual and actuarial overall freedom from valve-related mortality at 15 years was 84.3+/-2.4% and 58.4+/-0.9%, respectively. Overall actual and actuarial freedom from valve related reoperation at 15 years was 95.8+/-1.6% and 74.8+/-16.9%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS BP valves are further confirmed to be a good option for AVR in patients = or >75 years of age.