Background: Stentless porcine valves have many documented advantages over stented valves. Since its introduction in 1991, the Toronto stentless porcine valve (T-SPV) has shown excellent hemodynamic performance.
Methods: A total of 332 T-SPVs have been implanted at our institution up to December 2003, 25 of which have been explanted at surgery. Herein, we report a study of 30 explanted T-SPVs seen at our institution over a 5-year period.
Results: The mean patient age at explant was 61.2+/-11.8 years with a mean implant duration of 100.7+/-27.8 months (after excluding one valve removed early postoperatively for infective endocarditis). Twenty-seven of 30 valves (90%) showed structural deterioration characterized by tissue degeneration, cusp tears, calcification, and lipid insudation. Eight valves (26.7%) showed evidence of calcification on gross inspection and a total of 23 valves (76.7%) showed at least one microscopic focus of calcification, located primarily in the basal and commissural regions of the cusp. Twenty valves (66.6%) showed cusp tears. Pannus was visible grossly on the surface of 27 of 30 valves (90%), while histologically, at least some degree of pannus was observed on both the inflow and outflow surfaces of all but two valves. Twelve T-SPV (40.0%) showed calcification in the porcine aortic tissue, four of which involved calcification of the porcine muscle shelf in the right coronary cusp. Two T-SPV showed no significant structural deterioration. Their clinical reason for explantation was incompetence or infective endocarditis.
Conclusion: With a freedom from reoperation of about 87.0% at up to 10 years, the T-SPV shows excellent durability. The majority of explanted valves show structural valve deterioration similar to that seen in other porcine heart valves.