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Surgical mitral valve replacement with the Melody valve in infants and children: the Italian experience

1. Department of Paediatric Cardiac Surgery, IRCCS Policlinico San Donato, Milan, Italy; 2. Department of Paediatric Cardiology and Adult Congenital Heart Disease, IRCCS Policlinico San Donato, Milan, Italy

Aims: Paediatric patients with mitral valve (MV) disease have limited options for prosthetic MV replacement. Based on long experience with the stented bovine jugular vein graft (Melody valve) in the right ventricular outflow tract, we aimed to test the use of the Melody valve as a surgical implant in the mitral position in a small group of infants with congenital mitral disease.

Methods and results: Eight patients, aged from 3 months to 6.2 years, with congenital MV dysplasia underwent Melody valve implantation in the mitral position between March 2014 and October 2015. Once sutured to the MV annulus, the Melody valve was expanded through a balloon catheter to achieve the best diameter (12-20 mm). Two patients needed ECMO assistance after traditional MV repair and a Melody valve was successfully implanted as possible bail-out. However, neither of them recovered from multi-organ failure and both died, in spite of the well-functioning Melody prosthesis. During follow-up, only one patient underwent catheter-based balloon expansion of the valve.

Conclusions: The medium-term results of this procedure are encouraging. The Melody valve opens up the opportunity to carry out MV replacement in more children at an earlier time point, and it has potential to revolutionise the treatment of MV disease.

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