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Circulation. 1995 Dec 1;92(11):3235-9.

Patient factors associated with strut fracture in Björk-Shiley 60 degrees convexo-concave heart valves.

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  • 1Epidemiology Resources, Inc., Newton Lower Falls, Mass 02162-1450, USA.



Previously established predictors of outlet strut fracture in Björk-Shiley convexo-concave (CC) valves include larger valve size, larger opening angle (70 degrees versus 60 degrees), younger age at implant, and date of manufacture. We sought to identify patient characteristics that might be predictive of strut fracture and to refine the estimates associated with previously identified predictors.


We conducted a case-control study of CC60 degrees valves implanted in the United States and Canada and manufactured between January 1, 1979, and March 31, 1984. Cases included all valves with verified outlet strut fractures reported to the manufacturer from January 1979 through January 1992. Up to 10 controls were selected for each case. Control valves were matched according to implanting surgeon and were required to have been functioning at least as long as their matched case valves. Case and control medical records were reviewed for information on patient medical history before the valve implant. There were 96 case and 634 control valves for which clinical data were available. Patient age and valve size and implant position were confirmed as important determinants of fracture. There was a strong inverse gradient of risk with age. The risk of fracture was 42% lower for each 10-year increment of patient age at time of implant. Large mitral valves were at greatest risk of strut fracture, with the largest mitral valves (33 mm) estimated to be 33 times more likely to fracture than the smallest (21 to 25 mm) aortic valves. Date of manufacture was also associated with risk; valves welded from mid-1981 through March 1984 were more likely to fracture than those manufactured in 1979 and 1980. Body surface area < 1.5 m2 was associated with 1/16 the risk of body surface area > or = 2.0 m2. No other patient factor was strongly associated with the risk of strut fracture.


Few patient features identifiable in the implant record are predictive of strut fracture. Our analysis supports previous work in identifying valve size, patient age, and date of manufacture as predictors of fracture and adds body surface area. A number of these associations suggest that conditions associated with higher cardiac output may also place patients at increased risk.

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