Researchers in China have extolled the virtues of donkey heart valves for potential use as replacements in humans.
Their findings have been published in Artificial Organs, the official peer-reviewed journal of the International Federation for Artificial Organs.
The study, entitled “Donkey pericardium as an alternative bioprosthetic heart valve material”, evaluated donkey heart valves against those from cows, following implantation beneath the skin of rats.
The valve material was assessed after four and eight weeks.
No differences were observed for maximum load and tear strength. However, the donkey valves were significantly thinner and showed greater tensile strength.
The researchers, from Shandong University and Weifang Medical College, said the donkey valves also showed reduced calcification.
They may provide a suitable valve substitute for humans, they concluded.
Donkey pericardium as an alternative bioprosthetic heart valve material.
Chen S, Xu L, Liu Y, Li Q, Wang D, Wang X, Liu T.
Artif Organs. 2013 Mar;37(3):248-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1594.2012.01549.x. Epub 2012 Nov 12.
PMID: 23145868 [PubMed - in process]