Fresh allograft valves stored in a nutrient medium at +4 degrees C have a limited storage time of eight weeks. Dura mater has been stored in glycerol for longer periods, and this paper presents work on the glycerol storage of allograft heart valves. The elastic properties of the valve cusps showed a fall during storage in glycerol that was associated with an altered histological appearance of the cusp tissue. The loss in nuclearity in the histological sections of stored tissue was partially responsible for the observed decrease in viability during storage. All these changes during storage in glycerol, or glycerol and subsequent antibiotic treatment, were similar to the changes seen in valves stored in a nutrient medium. Glycerol therefore offers an alternative storage system to the cold nutrient medium but has no practical advantages. Glycerol alone will not sterilise the allograft tissue, and a post-storage treatment with antibiotics is essential.
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