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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2014 Oct;148(4):1443-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2013.10.059. Epub 2013 Dec 10.

Stented bovine jugular vein graft (Melody valve) for surgical mitral valve replacement in infants and children.

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Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Mass.
Department of Cardiology, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Mass.
Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Mass. Electronic address:



The options for mitral valve replacement in children with irreparable mitral valve disease have been limited to fixed-diameter prostheses that do not accommodate for somatic growth. We have modified an externally stented bovine jugular vein graft (Melody valve) for implantation in this cohort. Because it is not a fixed-diameter prosthesis, we hypothesized that the valve can be expanded in the catheterization laboratory as the child grows.


The medical records of patients who had undergone Melody valve implantation in the mitral or left atrioventricular valve position from 2010 to 2013 were reviewed.


Eleven patients had undergone Melody valve implantation at a median age of 7 months (range, 2-28). The techniques of valve modification and implantation included stent shortening, adding a pericardial sewing cuff, intraoperative balloon expansion, and fixation of the distal stent to the inferior left ventricle wall. The valve was competent, with a low gradient acutely postoperatively in all patients. One patient died, and one required permanent pacemaker implantation. One patient developed valve dysfunction and required explantation. Two patients without a pericardial sewing cuff developed paravalvular leaks. One patient who had not undergone distal stent fixation developed left ventricular outflow tract obstruction. Three patients who had undergone subsequent catheter-based balloon expansion of the valve have continued to demonstrate acceptable valvular function.


The Melody valve has demonstrated acceptable short-term function. Implantation techniques to prevent left ventricular outflow tract obstruction (suture fixation of the distal stent) and paravalvular leaks (the addition of a pericardial cuff) should be considered. The Melody valve can be percutaneously expanded as the child grows.

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