Twelve patients undergoing aortic and 28 undergoing mitral valve replacement with autologous fascia lata valves were studied before and six months after surgery. One aortic and 10 mitral valves were found to be significantly incompetent. Of the incompetent mitral valves, two appeared to have perivalvular leaks. Six of the remainder were associated with abnormal ventricular filling patterns. Valve failure was much less common when the design was modified to provide a loose cusp structure; out of 12 such valves none was incompetent. Transvalvular gradients persist with fascial valves though they are lower than with most mechanical prostheses. Ventricular function was greatly improved in successful aortic replacement but remained impaired in the case of mitral replacement. Valve failure appeared to be associated with, or accelerated by, haemodynamic stress rather than due to inevitable degenerative pathological processes.
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