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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2012 Jul;42(1):149-54. doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezr273. Epub 2012 Feb 22.

In vivo testing of an intra-annular aortic valve annuloplasty ring in a chronic calf model.

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Centennial Medical Center, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37205, USA.



To increase applicability and stability of aortic valve repair, a three-dimensional aortic annuloplasty ring has been developed for intra-annular placement. The goal of this study was to test the safety of this device with in vivo implantation in the calf model.


In 10 chronic calves, the HAART annuloplasty ring was sutured to the aortic valve annulus using cardiopulmonary bypass. The animals were recovered and followed for 1-2 months. Serial echocardiography was used to evaluate valve competence, and contrast aortograms and CT angiograms were obtained in selected animals. After completion of follow-up, each animal was euthanized, and aortic endoscopy was performed under water distension in five. Full autopsies with histologic examinations were performed.


All animals survived surgery. Two were euthanized in the first week for complications, and the remaining eight calves were followed uneventfully for the 1-2 months. Serial echocardiography showed completely competent valves in all but one animal, in which the ring was intentionally up-sized to test the sizing strategy. Contrast aortographic and CT angiographic findings were similar to the echocardiograms. Postmortem examination showed proper seating of all rings with endothelialization at 1-2 months. All valves demonstrated good leaflet coaptation and no abnormalities.


In vivo testing of a three-dimensional aortic annuloplasty ring in a chronic calf model proved to be very successful and safe. Using the sizing and implant strategies developed, human trials seem indicated.

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