European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery vol:15 issue:2 pages:134-42
OBJECTIVE: To compare calcification characteristics of two porcine stentless valves (Toronto SPV and Freestyle) with different designs, fixation and antimineralization techniques using a juvenile sheep model of valve implantation inside the circulation. METHODS: The stentless valves (n = 2 x 6) were implanted in juvenile sheep in the pulmonary artery as an interposition, while the circulation was maintained with a right ventricular assist device. The model was validated by the implantation of, clinically well-known, porcine (Hancock II) and pericardial (Pericarbon) valves. Half of the valves were explanted after 3 months, the rest after 6 months. Valves were examined macroscopically, by X-ray, light microscopy (HE, Masson, Von Giesson, Von Kossa, PTAH stains), and transmission electron microscopy. Quantitative determination of the calcium content of the cusps was performed with atomic absorption spectrometry. RESULTS: After 3 months, the Freestyle had an extensively calcified aortic wall, most prominent at the outflow side of the porcine valve. After 6 months, calcification increased transmurally, but the valve cusps were free of calcification, and the inflow side was only slightly calcified. The Toronto SPV valve also started to calcify at the inflow side of the valve after 3 months with increased calcification after 6 months. The base of the Toronto SPV valve cusps showed slight calcification after 6 months of implantation. CONCLUSIONS: The pattern of calcification of the porcine aortic wall differs between the two studied stentless valves, with calcification located predominantly at the outflow side in the Freestyle valve, but also at the inflow side in the Toronto SPV valve. The cusps of the Freestyle valve were less prone to calcification than those from the Toronto SPV valve.