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Objective: To compare the heart valve circumference before and after 10% formalin fixation.
Materials and Methods: The study analyzed 63 Thai human cadaveric hearts. Each heart valve circumference was separately measured in the fresh state by specifically designed equipment. After that, the hearts were fixed in 10% formalin for 3 days. Then each heart valve circumference was measured by the same equipment and by the thread and ruler technique. The results were analyzed using SPSS package to find the association between the heart valve circumference before and after formalin fixation.
Results: This study showed that the average circumferences of the heart valve measured in the fresh state were 13.329 cm in the tricuspid valve, 10.617 cm in the mitral valve, 8.416 cm in the pulmonic valve, and 7.122 cm in the aortic valve. The average circumferences of the heart valve measured after 10% formalin fixation were 11.019 cm in the tricuspid valve, 8.714 cm in the mitral valve, 6.751 cm in the pulmonic valve, and 6.089 cm in the aortic valve. The average ratios of the heart valve circumference measured fresh and after 10% formalin fixation were 0.8267 in the tricuspid valve, 0.8235 in the mitral valve, 0.8050 in the pulmonic valve, and 0.8573 in the aortic valve. There were significant differences in the heart valve circumference between the fresh state and after formalin fixation (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: This study revealed important information on the dimensional changes of all the formalin-fixed heart valves. We found that the heart valve shrank after formalin fixation, with the formalin-fixed hearts an estimated 0.8 times smaller than the fresh cadaveric hearts.
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