The choice of valve prosthesis for aortic valve replacement (AVR) in young patients is challenging. Decellularized pulmonary homografts (DPHs) have shown excellent results in pulmonary position. Here, we report our early clinical results using decellularized aortic valve homografts (DAHs) for AVR in children and mainly young adults.METHODS
This prospective observational study included all 69 patients (44 males) operated from February 2008 to September 2015, with a mean age of 19.7 ± 14.6 years (range 0.2–65.3 years). In 18 patients, a long DAH was used for simultaneous replacement of a dilated ascending aorta as an extended aortic root replacement (EARR). Four patients received simultaneous pulmonary valve replacement with DPH.RESULTS
Thirty-nine patients (57%) had a total of 62 previous operations. The mean aortic cross-clamp time in isolated cases was 129 ± 41 min. There was 1 conduit-unrelated death. The mean DAH diameter was 22.4 ± 3.7 mm (range, 10–29 mm), the average peak gradient was 14 ± 15 mmHg and the mean aortic regurgitation grade (0.5 = trace, 1 = mild) was 0.6 ± 0.5. The mean effective orifice area (EOA) of 25 mm diameter DAH was 3.07 ± 0.7 cm2. DAH annulus z-values were 1.1 ± 1.1 at implantation and 0.7 ± 1.3 at the last follow-up. The last mean left ventricle ejection fraction and left ventricle end diastolic volume index was 63 ± 7% and 78 ± 16 ml/m2 body surface area, respectively. To date, no dilatation has been observed at any level of the graft during follow-up; however, the observational time is short (140.4 years in total, mean 2.0 ± 1.8 years, maximum 7.6 years). One small DAH (10 mm at implantation) had to be explanted due to subvalvular stenosis and developing regurgitation after 4.5 years and was replaced with a 17 mm DAH without complication. No calcification of the explanted graft was noticed intraoperatively and after histological analysis, which revealed extensive recellularization without inflammation.CONCLUSIONS
DAHs withstand systemic circulation, provide outstanding EOA and appear as an alternative to conventional grafts for AVR in young patients. EARR using DAH is a further option in aortic valve disease associated with aorta ascendens dilatation as it avoids the use of any prosthetic material.