The present study was undertaken to measure and compare the viability of the mitral leaflet, chordae, and papillary muscle. The viability of the valves was assessed by autoradiography at regular intervals after sterilization and preservation in antibiotics and nutrient medium.
The results showed different rates of decline in viability of the leaflet, muscle, and chordae of the mitral valves. Slightly more than 70% of the leaflet fibroblasts took up thymidine during the first 24 hours of storage. This is compared with 68% of papillary muscle fibroblasts and 40% of chordae fibroblasts. Viability of the chordae decreased rapidly and became pronounced at four weeks. One week is the maximum time for storage of mitral valves if it is desirable to preserve living cells in the chordae.
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