Long-term follow-up reports after implantation of the Shelhigh® (Shelhigh, Inc., NJ, USA) No-React® aortic valved conduit used for aortic root replacement do not exist.METHODS
Between November 1998 and December 2007, the Shelhigh® No-React® aortic valved conduit was implanted in 291 consecutive patients with a mean age of 69.6 ± 9.1 years, and 33.7% were female (n = 98). Indications were annulo-aortic ectasia (n = 202), aortic valve stenosis combined with ascending aortic aneurysm (n = 67), acute type A aortic dissection (n = 29), endocarditis (n = 26) and other related pathologies (n = 48) including 62 patients with previous cardiac surgery. Data from two cardiac institutions were analysed retrospectively using SPSS (SPSS Software IBM, Inc., 2014, NY, USA).RESULTS
Operative mortality was 10% (n = 29). Main cause of death was cardiac failure in 15 patients (51.8%), neurological events in 6 patients (20.7%), respiratory failure in 4 patients (13.8%), bleeding complications in 2 patients (6.9%) and gastrointestinal ischaemia in 2 cases (6.9%). There were 262 hospital survivors and all were entered in the follow-up study (100% complete). During the long-term follow-up (mean 70.3 ± 53.1 in months), a total of 126/262 patients (44.3%) died. Main causes of death in patients after discharge were cardiac (n = 37, 14.1%), neurological (n = 15, 5.7%) respiratory (n = 12, 4.6%), endocarditis (n = 12, 4.6%) and peripheral vascular disease (n = 5, 1.9%). In 29 (11.1%) patients, the cause of death could not be determined. Reoperation was required in 25 (8.6%) patients due to infection of the conduit (n = 9), aortoventricular disconnection (n = 4), pseudoaneurysm formation (n = 4) and structural valve degeneration (n = 8). Reoperations were performed 5.0 ± 3.8 (range 0.1–11.7) years after index surgery.CONCLUSIONS
The Shelhigh® No-React® aortic valved conduit showed satisfactory short-term operative results. However, the long-term follow-up revealed a relatively high rate of deaths, which may be explained by the epidemiology of the patient group, but a substantial proportion of deaths could not be clarified. The overall rate of reoperation (8.6%) during the mid-term follow-up is worrisome and the failures due to aortoventricular disconnection, endocarditis and pseudoaneurysm formation remain unexplained. The redo-procedures were technically demanding. We recommend close follow-up of patients with the Shelhigh® No-React® aortic valved conduit, because besides classical structural valve degeneration, unexpected findings may be observed.