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Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2013 Feb;16(2):123-8. doi: 10.1093/icvts/ivs441. Epub 2012 Nov 8.

Aortic valve replacement with autologous pericardium: long-term follow-up of 15 patients and in vivo histopathological changes of autologous pericardium.

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  • 1Institute of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Changhai Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China.



The study aimed to assess the long-term follow-up of patients with an autologous pericardial aortic valve (APAV) replacement and to analyse in vivo histopathological changes in implanted APAVs.


From 1996 to 1997, 15 patients (mean age, 34 years) underwent aortic valve replacement with the glutaraldehyde-treated autologous pericardium. All patients were followed up after discharge. The excised APAVs were processed for haematoxylin-eosin, Victoria blue-van Gieson and immunohistochemical staining.


The mean clinical follow-up was 11.43 ± 4.50 years. APAV-related in-hospital and late mortalities were both 0%. Five (33%) patients required reoperation because of a prolapse of the right coronary cusp (n = 1), infective endocarditis (n = 1) or fibrocalcific degeneration (n = 3). Freedom from endocarditis, fibrocalcific degeneration and reoperation at the end of follow-up was 93, 80 and 67%, respectively. The remaining 10 patients were alive and well with a mean New York Heart Association class of 1.10 ± 0.32 and normally functioning aortic valves (peak pressure gradient: 7.70 ± 3.41 mmHg; mean pressure gradient: 1.79 ± 0.64 mmHg). Histopathology revealed that (i) a thin factor VIII-positive layer (endothelialization) was found on all non-endocarditis APAVs; (ii) pericardial cells in all APAVs were positive for α-smooth muscle actin (myofibroblast phenotype) and some cells in the fibrocalcific APAVs were positive for alkaline phosphatase (osteoblast phenotype) and (iii) an elastic band was found in 3 cases (in vivo >9 years).


APAV replacement is a procedure with a low mortality. APAVs adapt to new environmental demands by producing an elastic band and by endothelialization, whereas myofibroblast/osteoblast transdifferentiation seems to be responsible for the fibrocalcification of APAVs.

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