Background In patients being considered for aortic valve replacement, there remains controversy over which design or tissue offers the best performance. We aimed to evaluate in a single study the haemodynamic performances of five different widely used aortic valve prostheses: stentless porcine xenograft (Elan), stentless bovine pericardium (Pericarbon Freedom), stented porcine xenograft (Aspire), stented bovine pericardium (More) and mechanical (Ultracor). We also compared them with normal aortic valves and stenosed valves of variable severity.
Methods and results Preoperative echocardiography and dobutamine stress echocardiography at 1 year postoperatively were undertaken in 106 patients (n=18–24 from each group). Stentless bioprostheses, whether porcine or bovine, displayed superior haemodynamics across nearly all echocardiographic parameters: lower gradients, larger effective orifice area, higher dimensionless severity index (DSI) and lower resistance, when compared with stented or mechanical prostheses. Comparing both stented designs, bovine tissue performed the worst at rest, but with stress, there was no difference. The stress performances of the stentless bioprostheses were similar to the mildly stenosed native aortic valve, whereas the performances of the stented and mechanical prostheses resembled that of native valves with mild-to-moderate stenoses. Haemodynamic differences, however, did not translate into differences in left ventricular mass reduction at 1 year.
Conclusions Stentless bioprostheses displayed haemodynamics superior to stented or mechanical prostheses and had the closest performance to a normal, native aortic valve. Stress DSI data, least reliant on variable annulus/valve sizes and flow rates, provided the best haemodynamic discrimination.
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Competing interests None.
Ethics approval Ethics approval provided by the Local Ethics Research Committee.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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