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The unsolved problem of valvular incompetence is a common denominator to chronic venous insufficiency. Cardiac experience with tissue valves suggests the potential for their use in more peripheral locations. The current initial work evaluated 22 valvular xenografts placed in the inferior vena cavas of 22 dogs. Patency extended to 28 months in 12 valves. There was a plausible explanation for failure in 8 of the 10 unsuccessful units. Patent valves functioned with minimal pressure gradients at moderate flow with no evidence of pulmonary emboli. Retrograde valvulograms showed acceptable functional competence in six of eight units examined despite autopsy evidence of leaflet fibrosis and anatomic incompetence. The study establishes the feasibility of long-term patency of valvular xenografts in the inferior vena cava, but also raises questions concerning design requirements for prosthetic venous valves.
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☆Supported in part by a grant from Shiley, Inc., Irvine, California.
© 1989 Published by Elsevier Inc.