Calcification of cardiovascular prosthetic implants is a common and important problem. This review provides an update based upon the Conference on Cardiovascular Implant Calcification held as part of the 13th World Congress of the International Society for Heart Research, 1989. A variety of cardiovascular prostheses are affected clinically by calcification, including bioprosthetic heart valves, aortic homografts and trileaflet polymeric valve prostheses. In addition, experimental studies have demonstrated calcification of artificial heart devices in ventricular assist systems in long-term calf studies. The pathophysiology of this disease process is incompletely understood. A common element between the various types of cardiovascular implant calcification is the localization of calcific deposits to devitalized cells and membranous debris. Prevention of cardiovascular implant calcification by either biomaterial modifications or regional drug therapy (controlled release) is being investigated.