Subclinical Endocarditis Might be a Hidden Trigger of Early Prosthetic Valve Calcification: A Histological Study
Objective: Despite various improvements in valve prosthetics, early valve deterioration still occurs, leading to prosthetic failure. Studying the early phase of this deterioration is quite difficult, as the prosthesis to be examined is almost always explanted only after extensive deterioration. The objective of this research is to study the pathology of early valve deterioration in an early stage in order to reveal the possible trigger of the process.
Methods: Three cusps of the same type of bovine pericardium valve prosthesis underwent comparative examination. Two cusps (cusps 1 and 2) were retrieved from a valve prosthesis explanted three months post-implantation, and the third cusp was from a non-implanted valve prosthesis and used as a reference cusp (ref. cusp). The examination included macroscopic examination, Non-linear Optical Microscopy using a multiphoton microscope, and histological examination with staining, using Hematoxylin and Eosin, Movat Pentachrome stain, Von-Kossa stain, and Alizirin-Red stain. Parallel sections were decalcified using Osteosoft® solution prior to Von-Kossa and Alizirin-Red staining to exclude false positive results.
Results: Macroscopically, cusp 1 showed early deterioration, and cusp 2 showed endocarditic vegetations. Histologically, cusp 1 showed calcifications in acellular deposits on the surface of the cusp, with pathological signs of subacute/healed endocarditis and intact cusp tissue. The examination did not show calcifications of the cellular remnants within the valve tissue. Cusp 2 showed florid endocarditis, with microscopic destruction of the valve tissue.
Conclusion: Early prosthetic valve deterioration can exist as early as three months post-implantation. Subacute or subclinical endocarditis can be the cause for early valve calcification and deterioration.