OBJECTIVES Small-sized aortic bioprostheses may cause high postoperative gradients. In clinical practice, it is difficult to compare bioprostheses from different manufactures, owing to the discrepancy between the true size and the nominal size of the prosthesis and the inter-patient variability in aortic root characteristics. In vitro studies provide accurate data, and using a system in which it is possible to implant bioprostheses in a true aortic root should enable a fair comparison to be made. The present study compared the four most widely used pericardial stented bioprostheses from different manufacturers surgically implanted in small annulus, to detect any differences in their fluid-dynamic performance. METHODS The four types of bioprostheses, each implanted in a randomized sequence in eight porcine aortic roots, with a native annulus of 2.1 cm, were tested in a mock loop at 65 ml of stroke volume by calculating hydrodynamic parameters, namely mean pressure drop and effective orifice area, performance index, valve resistance and % of energy loss. The prostheses that fitted the aortic root after sizing were as follows: a Magna Ease 21, a Trifecta 21, a Soprano-Armonia 20 and a Mitroflow 23. RESULTS Effective orifice areas were 1.57 ± 0.2, 1.77 ± 0.2, 2.3 ± 0.3 and 1.75 ± 0.2 cm(2) (P < 0.001) for Magna Ease, Mitroflow, Trifecta and Soprano-Armonia, respectively. The mean gradients were 13.2 ± 3, 10.2 ± 3, 6.1 ± 2 and 9.6 ± 2 mmHg (P < 0.001) for Magna Ease, Mitroflow, Trifecta and Soprano-Armonia, respectively. The performance indices were 0.50 ± 0.06, 0.63 ± 0.08, 0.89 ± 0.13 and 0.56 ± 0.07 (P < 0.001) for Magna Ease, Mitroflow, Trifecta and Soprano-Armonia, respectively. The valve resistance, expressed in (dyn*s/cm(5)), was 69 ± 16, 55 ± 13, 33 ± 10 and 51 ± 11 (P < 0.001) for Magna Ease, Mitroflow, Trifecta and Soprano-Armonia, respectively. The percent of energy loss was 13.5 ± 0.5, 10.7 ± 2.5, 6.6 ± 1.6, 10.9 ± 1.8 (P < 0.001) for Magna Ease, Mitroflow, Trifecta and Soprano-Armonia, respectively. CONCLUSION Our study combined the fluid-dynamic reproducibility of the in vitro study with, by using porcine aortic roots, the specificity of surgery. The results confirmed that bioprostheses are inherently obstructive compared with the native aortic valve and showed that bioprostheses with the pericardium outside the stent are more efficient.
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