Background: Calcification of glutaraldehyde fixed bioprosthetic heart valve replacements frequently leads to the clinical failure of these devices. Previous research by our group has demonstrated that ethanol pretreatment prevents bioprosthetic cusp calcification, but not aortic wall calcification. We have also shown that aluminum chloride pretreatment prevents bioprosthetic aortic wall calcification. This study evaluated the combined use of aluminum and ethanol to prevent both bioprosthetic porcine aortic valve cusp and aortic wall calcification in rat subcutaneous implants, and the juvenile sheep mitral valve replacement model. Methods: Glutaraldehyde fixed cusps and aortic wall samples were pretreated sequentially first with aluminum chloride (AlCl3) followed by ethanol pretreatment. These samples were then implanted subdermally in rats with explants at 21 and 63 days. Stent mounted bioprostheses were prepared either sequentially as previously described or differentially with AlCl3 exposure restricted to the aortic wall followed by ethanol pretreatment. Mitral valve replacements were carried out in juvenile sheep with elective retrievals at 90 days. Results: Rat subdermal explants demonstrated that sequential exposure to AlCl3 and ethanol completely inhibited bioprosthetic cusp and aortic wall calcification compared with controls. However the sheep results were markedly different. The differential sheep explant group exhibited very low levels of cusp and wall calcium. The glutaraldehyde group exhibited little cusp calcification, but prominent aortic wall calcification. All sheep in the two groups previously described lived to term without evidence of valvular dysfunction. In contrast, animals in the sequential group exhibited increased levels of cusp calcification. None of the animals in this group survived to term. Pathologic analysis of the valves in the sequential group determined that valve failure was caused by calcification and stenosis of the aortic cusps. Conclusions: The results clearly demonstrate that a combination of aluminum and ethanol reduced aortic wall calcification and prevented cuspal calcification. Furthermore, this study demonstrates that exclusion of aluminum from the cusp eliminated the cuspal calcification seen when aluminum and ethanol treatments were administered in a sequential manner.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank Jennifer LeBold for her assistance with manuscript preparation. Research support was provided by St. Jude Medical Inc. Doctor Levy’s efforts were supported in part by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute grant HL38118 and by The William J. Rashkind Endowment of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.