Both porcine (PX) and bovine pericardial (BP) valves have been used in the implantable Novacor left ventricular assist system (LVAS). Results from 58 chronic LVAS implants of greater than 7 days in calves and adult sheep are presented: the PX valve was used in 41 and the BP in 17. With PX valves, the maximum and mean assist durations were 161 and 54 days, respectively, in the calf and 279 and 129 days, respectively, in the sheep. The maximum and mean durations for BP valves were 93 and 38 days (calf) and 153 and 69 days (sheep). In bovine studies with PX valves, severe obstructive pseudoneointimal (PNI) proliferation in the Dacron inflow conduit was the primary cause for termination; valves exhibited moderate calcification. With BP valves, both PNI proliferation and severe valve calcification contributed to a declining pump output, leading to termination. In contrast to the bovine experience, PNI proliferation was not observed in ovine implants. BP valves still became calcified, as evidenced by a progressive decline in pump output (from about twelve weeks) and confirmed at termination. Valve calcification was minimal with the PX valves, even at 236 days. These results favor the adult ovine animal model for extended implants.
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