From August 1981 to July 1984, a total of 97 Hancock pericardial xenografts were implanted in 84 patients, whose ages ranged from 13 to 75 years (mean 55.7 +/- 13). Mitral value replacement was performed in 17, aortic valve replacement in 54, and mitral-aortic valve replacement in 13. Operative survivors were reevaluated from July to September 1985. Cumulative duration of follow-up is 167 patient-years (range 0.5 to 4.1 years), and follow-up is 99\% complete. The overall late mortality (at 4 years) is 3.6\% +/- 1.4\% per patient year, and the actuarial survival rate is 95.4\% +/- 3\% for aortic valve replacement, 74.7\% +/- 16.5\% for mitral valve replacement, and 67.1\% +/- 20.7\% for mitral-aortic valve replacement. One patient sustained a thromboembolic event after mitral valve replacement, but no such complications occurred after aortic or mitral-aortic valve replacement. Actuarial freedom from embolism at 4 years is 100\% for aortic and mitral-aortic valve replacement and 93.3\% +/- 6.4\% for mitral valve replacement. Reoperation for Hancock pericardial xenograft dysfunction was performed in seven patients (five aortic and two mitral-aortic). In the aortic valve replacement group the causes were endocarditis in one, paravalvular leak in one, and primary tissue failure in three; all survived reoperation. The two patients with mitral-aortic valve replacement required reoperation because of primary tissue failure of both Hancock pericardial xenografts, and one died. All values explanted because of primary tissue failure showed commissural tears causing severe prosthetic regurgitation. Calcium deposits were severe in one and mild but unrelated to the cusp rupture in another. Collagen disarray was seen only at the site of the tears, whereas the collagen structure was well preserved in the intact parts of the cusps. Four patients with aortic valve replacement and one with mitral valve replacement show evidence of Hancock pericardial xenograft failure and are awaiting reoperation. The actuarial freedom from primary tissue failure at 4 years is 74.3\% +/- 9.8\% for aortic and 78.9\% +/- 13.2\% for mitral Hancock pericardial xenografts. At medium-term follow-up, the Hancock pericardial xenograft has shown poor durability and an extremely high rate of early mechanical failure, especially in the aortic position. These observations suggest the need for a close follow-up of Hancock pericardial xenograft recipients and possibly elective reoperation in asymptomatic patients with clinical evidence of prosthetic failure. These results have led us to discontinue the clinical use of this pericardial xenograft.
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