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Ann Thorac Surg. 1983 Sep;36(3):246-52.

Failure of Hancock xenograft valve: importance of valve position (4- to 9-year follow-up).


To evaluate long-term durability of Hancock valves, we reviewed our results in 107 hospital survivors (120 valves) who were operated on during 1974 through mid-1979. Mitral valve replacement was done in 63 patients, aortic valve replacement in 20, and mitral valve replacement combined with other procedures in 24. The 7-year survival was 84 +/- 4% (standard error of the mean) for 91 patients and 97 valves. During a follow-up of 590 patient-years, 15 (12 mitral and 3 aortic) of 120 valves at risk (87 mitral, 32 aortic, 1 tricuspid) were removed from 14 patients. Six valves (3 mitral and 3 aortic) were removed because of bacterial endocarditis. One mitral valve was removed because of thromboembolism. Eight mitral valves were removed because of valve structural failure, which occurred at a mean follow-up of 42 months. These valves showed extensive calcification, leaflet perforation, or cusp tear. Structural failure was unrelated to valve size, year of implantation, or valve shelf-life. Structural failure was not seen after aortic valve replacement. Results show that structural failure of the Hancock xenograft valve in the mitral position is related primarily to valve position. After aortic valve replacement, valve failure is predominantly due to endocarditis. Although medium-term (mean, 6-year) durability of this xenograft valve compares satisfactorily with prosthetic valves, its high failure rate in the mitral position indicates the necessity for improvement in valve mounting, design, and preservation.

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