Electrohydraulic shock wave decalcification of stenotic aortic valves: Postmortem and intraoperative studies

Seth J. Worley, R. Michael King, William D. Edwards, David R. Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Decalcification of stenotic aortic valves is limited by the difficulty in removing sufficient calcium to restore valve function without cusp perforation. The present study demonstrates that electrohydraulic shock waves generated by a hand-held lithotriptor fragmented the calcifications contained within the cusps of four necropsy specimens of stenotic aortic valves. The electrohydraulic shock waves appeared to create a cleavage plane between the valve tissue and the fragmented calcific deposits, allowing the fragmented calcined masses to be removed without cusp perforation. Five patients with severe aortic stenosis also underwent successful aortic valve decalcification augmented by electrohydraulic shock waves generated with the hand-held lithotriptor, without significant complication. The shock waves permitted removal, from the aortic valve, of calcium that had not been removed by mechanical means. These results indicate that the addition of electrohydraulic shock waves to mechanical aortic valve decalcification may facilitate successful decalcification in patients undergoing operative treatment for aortic stenosis and may allow patients to avoid the need for aortic valve replacement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)458-462
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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