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Innovations (Phila). 2011 Nov;6(6):348-54. doi: 10.1097/IMI.0b013e31824641d7.

Techniques of aortic valve repair.

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  • 1Centennial Medical Center, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37205, USA.


Similar to mitral repair, newer methods of aortic valve reconstruction are achieving excellent outcomes with an 85% to 90% freedom from valve-related complications at 10 years. The goal of this review is to illustrate these newer and more stable techniques of aortic valve repair. Most patients with aortic insufficiency from either trileaflet or bicuspid aortic valves are candidates for repair, in addition to selected patients with mixed aortic stenosis/insufficiency and aortic root aneurysms. Initially, aggressive commissural annuloplasty is performed to reduce measured valve diameter to 19 to 21 mm. Leaflet prolapse is corrected with plication stitches placed in the free edge of each leaflet adjacent to the Nodulus Arantius. In this regard, the leaflet free edge functions as the chorda tendinea of the aortic valve, and shortening with plication stitches raises the leaflet to a proper "effective height." Leaflet defects are augmented with gluteraldehyde-fixed autologous pericardium, and mild-to-moderate strategically placed spicules of calcium are removed with the cavitron ultrasonic surgical aspirator. Using these methods, most insufficient aortic valves, and many with mixed lesions, can be satisfactorily repaired. Six cases are illustrated in this review, spanning the spectrum of pathologies from annular dilatation without leaflet defects, to standard congenital bicuspid valve with prolapse, to trileaflet prolapse, to unusual bicuspid pathology with calcification, to a moderately calcified trileaflet valve with mixed lesions, and to aortic root aneurysms with severe aortic insufficiency. All valves were repaired using the techniques described above with trivial residual leak and minimal gradients. All repairs have been followed with yearly echocardiography, and valve reconstruction with these methods is now quite stable with excellent late outcomes. Most insufficient aortic valves now can undergo stable repair with minimal late valve-related complications. Greater application of aortic valve repair seems indicated.

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