To obviate the drawbacks of prosthetic devices and in search of a better substitute for diseased heart valves a technique of using autologous fascia lata grafts attached to a support frame was developed. The technique of preparing mounted fascia lata grafts is briefly outlined and their surgical implantation into the mitral, tricuspid, and aortic areas is described. Since April 1969, 83 fascial grafts have been inserted into 76 patients with very good immediate and short-term results. Ten patients succumbed within the operative period. None of these deaths was due to failure of the graft per se. Thromboembolic manifestations have been completely absent although anticoagulants were not used. All sixty-six survivors are very much improved. Data concerning the structure and function of fascia are presented and the experimental and clinical use of fascia lata in extracardiac and cardiac surgery is reviewed. The use of autologous, living, fascia lata valves is considered to be a better approach for heart valve replacement because autologous fascia maintains its structure unchanged after transplantation and, being under mechanical stimulation, it retains its functional properties.
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