The purpose of this study was to characterize the onset and progression of mineralization in porcine bioprosthetic valves implanted in sheep and to test the hypothesis that such valves simulate calcification that is observed clinically and in other experimental models. Hancock I porcine aortic bioprosthetic valves (Medtronic Heart Valve Division, Irvine, Calif.) were implanted as orthotopic mitral valve replacements in juvenile sheep, retrieved after 1 to 124 days, and analyzed as follows: gross inspection, radiography, light, transmission, and surface scanning electron microscopy, and calcium analysis by absorption spectroscopy. Mineralization increased with increasing time after implantation in both valve cusps and adjacent aortic wall. Mean cuspal calcification was 80 μg/mg in valves removed after 3 to 4 months. Nevertheless, considerable variability among valves was apparent in the level of calcification noted at specific time intervals. Virtually all aspects of the morphologic characteristics were identical to those previously noted for clinical explants and experimental specimens, both subcutaneous and circulatory. In particular, ultrastructural examination revealed that the earliest calcific deposits were associated with devitalized cuspal connective tissue cells and their fragments. Collagen calcification was sparse. Both surface scanning and transmission electron microscopy indicated a lack of endothelial or blood-derived cells on the valves at all sampling times. We conclude that porcine bioprosthetic valves implanted as mitral valves in sheep provide a useful calcification model, simulating morphologic and pathobiologic events that occur clinically and in noncirculatory models. However, sufficient specimen replicates must be done to overcome variability in calcification among valves and sampling sites.