One hundred and sixty-five patients had their aortic valve replaced with antibiotic-sterilised homograft. In all cases, a two-layered freehand technique of valve implantation was used. Tailoring (narrowing) of the annulus was required in 29 cases, and an aortic root gusset was used to enlarge the non-coronary sinus in 68 cases. There was an early mortality of 1.8% and late mortality of 2.4%. The actuarial survival rate was 95% at a maximum follow-up of seven years. The incidence of valvar regurgitation (early diastolic murmur) was 11.5% up to six months after operation and an additional 7.2% subsequent to this. Overall, it was trivial in 10.3%, mild in 7.8%, and moderate in 0.6%. Most valve regurgitation was non-progressive and actuarial analysis showed 74% regurgitation-free valves at the end of seven years. The age of the donor and the valve storage time showed some relationship to valve deterioration. Special attention has been paid to the control of hypertension to prevent accelerated graft degeneration. The results suggest that this has been successful. Anticoagulant therapy was not used and thromboembolism has not been seen in patients undergoing isolated aortic valve replacement. There was one case of miliary tuberculosis after homograft valve replacement but no pyogenic or fungal endocarditis occurred. No haemolysis, calcification, or valvar stenosis were observed. This series, followed for a maximum of seven years, shows excellent sustained valve performance and a very low incidence of important postoperative regurgitation, with 91.8% of the survivors symptom-free.
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