It has been postulated that, in theory, stentless bioprosthetic heart valves provide improved hemodynamics and durability over their stented counterparts. A number of glutaraldehyde modified porcine stentless valves are currently either on the market or in clinical trials. Polyepoxy compound as an alternative cross-linking reagent to glutaraldehyde for bioprostheses has been reported to mitigate calcification. The present study was to investigate the effect of the fixation methods on porcine aortic wall flexibility. Ring specimens were selected from three groups of porcine roots: fresh, low pressure glutaraldehyde fixed, and low pressure Denacol (polyepoxy compound) fixed. Pulled between two rods on a tensile tester, a ring specimen's load-deformation relationship was recorded and analyzed to numerically compute the tissue modulus at low strains. The results showed that the Young's moduli were 0.113 ± 0.036, 0.494 ± 0.113, and 1.320 ± 0.292 MPa (mean ± SD, n = 10) for the fresh, Denacol fixed, and glutaraldehyde fixed aortic walls, respectively. The Denacol fixed aortic wall was more flexible than the glutaraldehyde fixed one. It was also found that the Denacol fixed aortic wall maintained most of the natural residual strains, while the glutaraldehyde fixed aortic wall did not.
© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.