Author + information
- Received August 22, 2003
- Revision received December 30, 2003
- Accepted January 27, 2004
- Published online July 21, 2004.
- Guangqiang Gao, MD*,
- YingXing Wu, MD*,* (, )
- Gary L. Grunkemeier, PhD*,
- Anthony P. Furnary, MD* and
- Albert Starr, MD*
- ↵*Reprint requests and correspondence:
Dr. YingXing Wu, 9205 SW Barnes Road, #33LL, Portland, Oregon 97225, USA.
Objectives This study compares the long-term performance of the Carpentier-Edwards (CE) porcine bioprosthesis and the CE pericardial bioprosthesis for aortic valve replacement (AVR).
Background With new bioprostheses on the horizon, there is renewed interest in how the long-term durability of current pericardial bioprostheses compares with the traditional porcine bioprosthesis.
Methods We reviewed 518 AVR with CE porcine valves from 1974 to 1996 and 1,021 AVR with CE pericardial valves from 1991 to 2002. The age distribution and clinical profiles were similar for both groups. The total (mean) follow-up was 3,322 (6.4) years for porcine and 2,556 (2.5) years for pericardial.
Results Long-term mortality was similar (p = 0.29) for porcine and pericardial, with 10-year survival rates of 34 ± 2% and 38 ± 6%, respectively. Ten-year freedom from major adverse cardiac events was also similar for both (respectively): thromboembolism (80 ± 2% and 87 ± 2%; p = 0.24); endocarditis (98 ± 1% and 99 ± 1%; p = 0.30). However, 10-year freedom from explant was lower for porcine (90 ± 2%) than for pericardial (97 ± 1%, p = 0.04). Reasons for explant for porcine were structural valve deterioration (SVD) (n = 25), endocarditis (n = 4), and periprosthetic leak (n = 2). The reasons for explant for pericardial were SVD (n = 4), endocarditis (n = 4) and periprosthetic leak (n = 1).
Conclusions The current CE pericardial valve offers better midterm durability than the traditional CE porcine valve. Its freedom from SVD and reoperation makes it our current bioprosthesis of choice for AVR in appropriately selected patients.
The first generation of pericardial valve prostheses was abandoned by physicians owing to a high rate of structural valve deterioration (SVD) characterized by leaflet tear (1–3). The Carpentier-Edwards (CE) pericardial valve was introduced in 1981 and became available for commercial distribution in the U.S. in 1991, providing superior hemodynamic performance with better durability than its previous pericardial valves. Intermediate follow-up has shown a low rate of valve-related events, especially deterioration. This satisfactory outcome rehabilitated pericardium as a viable bioprosthetic valve substitute (4,5). However, because of the history of other bioprostheses and the known evolution of calcification of these materials over time, longer follow-up is necessary to assert a definitive conclusion. More than 10 years have passed since the CE pericardial valve was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for aortic valve replacement (AVR). This study documents our center's experience with the CE pericardial valve implanted in the aortic position and compares it to that of CE porcine valve.
Patients and methods
We reviewed all 518 isolated AVR performed with CE porcine valves between 1974 and 1996 and all 1,021 AVR performed with CE pericardial valves between 1991 and 2002. Table 1summarizes the preoperative clinical profiles of each group. Mean age was 74 years for both porcine group (range 23 to 95 years) and pericardial group (range 26 to 94 years). Not only are the mean ages identical, but the entire age distributions of the two valves are similar as well (Fig. 1). Patients who underwent combined valve replacement were excluded from this study. Patients with significant coronary artery disease receiving preoperative angiography underwent concomitant coronary artery bypass graft surgery and are included in this study.
All patients were entered into a database at the time of the operation and have been followed up prospectively at annual intervals; the recent follow-up was conducted by either mailed questionnaire or telephone interview. The total (mean) follow-up was 3,322 (6.4) years for the porcine group and 2,556 (2.5) years for the pericardial group. Follow-up was 91% complete.
All valve-related deaths and complications were defined according to the “ Guidelines for Reporting Morbidity and Mortality After Cardiac Valvular Operations” (6). The primary outcome of interest in this analysis was bioprosthetic valve dysfunction. This was defined as any clinically relevant valvular stenosis or insufficiency documented by reoperation or autopsy. Additional outcomes included thromboembolic events, bioprosthetic valve endocarditis, and cause of death. Cause of death was established from hospital records or autopsy reports when available. Operative death and early thromboembolism were defined as any death and any thromboembolism in the hospital or within 30 days after operation.
Continuous data are presented as mean ± SD and actuarial probability and linearized rates as mean and 95% confidence limits of the mean. Linearized rates are the number of events per patient-year (%/patient-year) of follow-up. Survival curves and event-free curves were obtained using Kaplan-Meier (KM) method and compared by log-rank test. Actual analysis was also done to get the actual event-free percentage for SVD. Cox regression was used to detect the risk factors for SVD and explantation. Only the first event for each patient during the study was used for event-free analysis. Valve-related complications except for SVD were summarized as linearized rates, and all late events for each patient were included. The statistical analysis was done by SPSS 10 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, Illinois) and S-PLUS 2000 (Insightful Corp., Seattle, Washington). Although the maximum follow-up of the porcine valves exceeds that of the pericardial valves by about eight years, the log-rank test used for statistical comparison considers the experience for both valves only out to the follow-up time of the shortest series.
Operative and late deaths
There were 40 operative deaths (7.7%) in the porcine group and 43 (4.2%) in the pericardial group. There were 327 late deaths in the porcine group and 164 late deaths in the pericardial group. A summary of the causes of late death in both groups is shown in Table 2. Among the late deaths in the porcine group, 37% were valve-related, 25% were non-valve-related, and 38% were noncardiac related. Among the pericardial group, 41% were valve-related, 15% non-valve-related, and 44% were noncardiac related. Overall long-term mortality was similar (p = 0.29) for the porcine and pericardial, with 10-year survival of 34 ± 2% and 38 ± 6%, respectively (Fig. 2).
Prosthetic valve thrombosis
There was one early and one late thrombosis of the porcine valve (0.03%/patient-year). There were no documented thromboses of the pericardial valves.
Eight (1.5%) early thromboembolic events occurred in the porcine group and 26 (2.6%) in the pericardial group. Eighty-six late thromboembolic events (2.6%/patient-year) occurred in the porcine group: 3 peripheral, 20 transient ischemic attack, 3 reversible ischemic neurologic deficit, 39 stroke, and 21 fatal. Thirty-one late thromboembolic events (1.3%/patient-year) occurred in the pericardial group: 3 transient ischemic attack, 16 stroke, and 12 fatal. Ten-year freedom from thromboembolism was similar for the porcine and pericardial (80 ± 2% and 87 ± 2%, respectively; p = 0.24) (Fig. 3).
Bioprosthetic valve endocarditis
There were 1 early and 10 late episodes of prosthetic valve endocarditis in the porcine group (0.3%/patient-year). There were two early and four late episodes of prosthetic endocarditis in the pericardial group (0.16%/patient-year). Ten-year freedom from endocarditis was similar for the porcine and pericardial (98 ± 1% and 99 ± 1%, respectively; p = 0.30).
The 10-year KM freedom from explant was higher for the pericardial group (97 ± 1%) than for the porcine (90 ± 2%, p = 0.04) (Fig. 4). Causes of explant for porcine were SVD (n = 25), endocarditis (n = 4), and periprosthetic leak (n = 2). The causes of explant for pericardial were SVD (n = 4), endocarditis (n = 4), and periprosthetic leak (n = 1). The 10-year KM freedom from explantation for SVD was 92 ± 2% in the porcine group and 98.5 ± 1% in the pericardial group (Fig. 5). The 10-year actual freedom from explantation for SVD was 96 ± 1% for the porcine and 98.9 ± 1% for the pericardial. The 15-year KM and actual freedom from explantation for SVD was 87 ± 1% and 95± 1% in the porcine group, respectively. By Cox regression, only younger age was found to be a significant risk factor for SVD. The SVD rate decreased with older age in the porcine group (Fig. 6). In the pericardial group, four cases of SVD occurred: one in a patient under 50 years old and three in patients more than 70 years old.
The rationale for using bioprosthetic valves is their low thrombogenicity, which does not require anticoagulation per se. Therefore, these valves seem to be eminently suitable for patients with isolated aortic valve disease, who are in sinus rhythm and do not usually have any concomitant cardiomyopathy that would necessitate anticoagulation.
For the past 30 years stented porcine valves have been the most widely used biologic valves, and they represent a standard for measuring the performance of newer biologic valve designs. The first-generation pericardial bioprostheses offered improved hemodynamic performance over the porcine valves, but were plagued by early structural failure and were finally withdrawn from the market (1–3). In contrast, the original design of the CE pericardial valve offers excellent intermediate and long-term follow-up results and has demonstrated that pericardium is in fact an acceptable bioprosthetic material. Pericardium's superior durability is due to decreased stress-induced structural deterioration through infrastent tissue-mounting, flexible and distendable struts, and better tissue orientation combined with improved tissue preservation techniques (7). There has been increasing interest in the CE pericardial valve since it gained FDA approval for aortic implantation in the U.S. in 1991. Clinical outcomes of valve replacement with the CE pericardial valve have been previously reported by other groups (8–11). We present our experience with this prosthesis, starting from the FDA approval in 1991, and compare it with our results with the CE porcine valve.
Our patients were operated on by the same surgical team. There was similarity between the two groups in preoperative clinical profile, including age distribution, clinical status, and associated surgical procedures. The limitation of this study is that the comparison between the porcine and pericardial valve is not contemporaneous. The reason is that since the pericardial valve became available in the U.S. we have switched almost entirely to the pericardial valve. With more than 1,000 pericardial valves implanted in aortic position and up to 10 years follow-up, we felt it was time to analyze our comparative long-term results.
For the CE pericardial group, overall late survival rates and freedom from valve-related complications, including thromboembolic events and endocarditis, paralleled those observed for the porcine group. But freedom from explant was better for the pericardial than for the porcine. This seems to be due to a lower rate of SVD, as only four pericardial valves have been explanted because of SVD.
Age and valve position have been shown to be the most powerful determinants of bioprosthetic valve longevity, with increasing durability in the aortic position of elderly patients (8,12–15). In our series, the influence of age on porcine valve structural deterioration was significant. There appeared to be a decrease in structural deterioration with increasing age in porcine series. However, the pericardial valve structural deterioration had too few occurrences to allow us to find a relationship with age. Similar results have been reported for the CE pericardial valve in the aortic position by Cosgrove et al. (4). They concluded that age was not a significant predictor of the explantation of the prosthesis because after 10 years 97% of patients 65 years and older and 94% of those under 65 years were free from structural deterioration.
Jamieson et al. (16), on the other hand, reported that the CE porcine valve had significantly greater freedom from structural failure at 15 years in patients 70 years and older. Banbury et al. (17)reported actuarial freedom from aortic CE pericardial valve SVD of 99%, 94%, and 77% at 5, 10, and 15 years, respectively. They found that the long-term durability of the pericardial valve is excellent, particularly in the elderly. In that series patients as young as 65 years were predicted to have <10% chance of requiring explant before the age of 80. These results are very encouraging. As these studies mature, indications for CE pericardial use may broaden to include a younger population.
Comparison between porcine and pericardial valves was previously reported (18,19). Cosgrove et al. (18)showed that pericardial valves are less obstructive than porcine. New pericardial valves appear to compare favorably with the best published results of studies on the first-generation porcine prostheses (20,21). The 10-year freedom from structural failure ranges from 76% to 91%. The Carpentier group has observed freedom from structural deterioration rates of 100% at 12 years and 83% at 13 years.
We have compared our earlier experience with porcine valves (1974 to 1996) with our later experience with pericardial valves (1991 to 2002). These were the first-generation porcine valves, compared with the second-generation pericardial valves. Because we have adopted pericardial as our preferred valve, we do not have experience with more recent porcine valves. The second-generation porcine valve (Carpentier-Edwards SAV Porcine, Edwards Lifesciences, Irvine, California; Hancock II, Medtronic Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota) and third-generation Mosaic Porcine Valve (Medtronic Inc.) were designed as supraannular bioprotheses to reduce the obstructive properties of the first-generation standard intra-annular porcine bioprostheses (22). Recent study by Jamieson et al. (23)revealed no difference among the Carpentier-Edwards SAV porcine, Medtronic Mosaic porcine, and CE pericardial bioprostheses with regard to mean gradients by prosthesis size or indexed effective orifice area by prosthesis size. Jamieson et al. (24)reported that 15-year freedom from SVD with second-generation CE porcine valve was 69% for patients age 61 to 70 years and 92% for those older than 70 years, respectively. This result is similar to that of our porcine series. Corbineau et al. (25), in reviewing 13-year results with Medtronic Intact porcine bioprosthesis in the aortic position, reported that freedom from SVD at 10 and 13 years was respectively 96% and 91%, which seems better than our CE porcine series but not as good as our CE pericardial series. It remains to be seen whether these newer generations of porcine valves will equal or exceed the results with pericardial valves. Nonetheless, the rates of explantation of pericardial AVR in our series and others strongly suggest that the traditionally purported risk of a “50% chance of reoperation at 10 years” with porcine bioprostheses is no longer valid. Indeed, we as clinicians must reevaluate and reeducate our peers and patients on the true risks and benefits of AVR utilizing current bioprosthetic valve technology.
In summary, compared with the CE porcine valve, the CE pericardial valve has superior durability. Its freedom from structural deterioration and reoperation makes it our bioprosthesis of choice for aortic valve replacement. The 10-year results for the pericardial valve continue to demonstrate a strong performance, which may broaden its indication to younger patients with aortic valve disease.
- aortic valve replacement
- Food and Drug Administration
- structural valve deterioration
- Received August 22, 2003.
- Revision received December 30, 2003.
- Accepted January 27, 2004.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation
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