Japanese Editorial Committee of Annals of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Annals of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery vol:10 issue:1 pages:23-8
BACKGROUND: Tissue degeneration and calcification are the two chief obstacles to the successful application of bioprosthetic heart valves. To enable the study of the durability of bioprosthetic heart valves and the efficacy of anti-calcification treatment, it has become necessary to develop animal models. The aim of this study is to validate a new model for implantation in the pulmonary position. METHODS: Three juvenile sheep underwent implantation of Carpentier-Edwards pericardial valves in the pulmonary position (experimental group). These three valves were compared with three Carpentier-Edwards pericardial valves in the aortic position in patients which had been explanted due to primary tissue failure (clinical group). The valves were analyzed. RESULTS: The findings of macroscopic, X-ray and light microscopic examination were very similar between the two groups. Scattered irregular calcification was seen near the commissures and at the base of the cusps in both groups. Quantitative calcium content analysis showed that calcification of the cusps had progressed to almost the same degree in both groups (experimental group, 3.7+/-0.2 micro g/mg dry tissue; clinical group, 4.3+/-0.3; p>0.05). In the experimental group, calcification in the commissural area of the cusp was pronounced (6.5+/-1.0). In the clinical group, calcification had also progressed in the commissural area of the cusp (6.0+/-1.5), and extended to the base area of the cusp (6.6+/-1.2). CONCLUSIONS: This model is promising for preclinical evaluation of bioprosthetic heart valves. The degree of calcification is not significantly different between our experimental results after three months of implantation in sheep and clinical results after 10 years of implantation in elderly patients. However, the pattern of calcification is somewhat different between the two groups.