Prophylactic reoperation for strut fractures of the Bjork-Shiley Convexo- concave heart valve

F. A. Schondube*, W. Althoff, H. C. Dorge, M. Voss, J. L. Laufer, J. G. Chandler, B. J. Messmer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Outlet strut fracture of the Bjork-Shiley Convexo-Concave (C/C) heart valve is the current paradigm of structural failure of mechanical heart valve prostheses. The estimated risk of fracture for C/C valves varies from 0.02% to 2.5% per patient-year, depending on valve size, opening angle, date of manufacture and position as a mitral or aortic replacement. This report examines our experience with 396 implants, comprising 346 C/C 60° valves and 50 C/C 70° valves. The 30-day mortality was 1.8%. Through April 1993, mean follow up was 8.9 years, incorporating 2971 patient-years and knowledge of the current status of 91.5% (356/389) of operative survivors. Late mortality was 3.7% per patient-year, including one 60° and one 70° outlet strut fracture. To evaluate the risk of semi-elective valve re-replacement at our institution, we reviewed the results of isolated re-replacements of failing or incipiently failing bioprostheses in 65 patients who had no serious co- morbidity and who were NYHA Class III or lower immediately before the procedure. The 30-day mortality was 4.6% and the overall serious morbidity rate was 10.8%, necessitating six repeat reoperations. When these factors were balanced against the life expectancy and general status of five patients with large-size, higher-fracture-risk 70° C/C valves, it was concluded that only two patients remained possible reoperation candidates. Consideration for re-replacement of a normally functioning C/C heart valve should take into account institution-specific experience because structural failure remains a low risk compared to valve-related complications engendered by reoperation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-253
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Heart Valve Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


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