Papers And Originals

Ultrasonic Decalcification of Calcified Cardiac Valves and Annuli

Br Med J 1972; 3 doi: (Published 29 July 1972) Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;3:274
  1. A. Hedley Brown,
  2. Peter G. H. Davies


    Heavily calcified annuli increase the incidence of complications after prosthetic valve replacement—heart block, separation of the aorta or the atrium from the ventricle, late aneurysm formation, paravalvular leak, and haemolysis. An ultrasonic calculus-disintegrator has been developed to remove calcific deposits. The instrument is portable, robust, easily sterilized, inexpensive, and provides nebulized water at the ultrasonic tip which keeps the tissues cool, helps to break up the calculus by cavitation, and washes the calcific debris into the sucker. Preliminary trial on excised calcific valves showed the ultrasound instrument to be capable of removing most forms of calcification. In clinical prosthetic replacement of valves it enabled good clearance of the annulus to be performed in six out of seven cases, in one of which earlier operation had been unsuccessful because of calcification. Two elderly patients with pure calcific aortic stenosis were successfully treated by debridement of the aortic valve with ultrasound.