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Ann Thorac Surg. 1996 Aug;62(2):442-8; discussion 448-9.

Aortic root replacement with the pulmonary autograft in children with complex left heart obstruction.

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  • 1Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, USC School of Medicine, Los Angeles 90027, USA.



The optimal surgical treatment of complex (multiple level or recurrent) left ventricular outflow tract obstruction (LVOTO) in infancy is controversial. Staged procedures expose the children to the need for reoperation, and currently available techniques of aortoventriculoplasty are associated with the morbidities of biological and mechanical prostheses.


Between July 1992 and January 1996, we have performed 24 aortic root replacements with the pulmonary autograft in pediatric patients (< 18 years). Of this group, 8 were infants and children with complex LVOTO aged 9 days to 22 months (mean, 8.6 +/- 8 months) and weighing 3.3 to 10.2 kg (mean, 6.3 +/- 2.6 kg). The diagnoses were interrupted aortic arch/ventricular septal defect/subaortic stenosis in 3, recurrent aortic stenosis in 2, aortic stenosis and subaortic stenosis in 1, and aortic stenosis/subaortic stenosis/mitral stenosis/regurgitation in 2. All patients had undergone one to three previous operative procedures (mean, 1.5 +/- 0.8 procedures/patient). Preoperative echocardiographic peak LVOT gradient was 71.7 +/- 25 mm Hg (range, 40 to 110 mm Hg) and aortic annulus size was 7.2 +/- 2.3 mm (range, 4 to 10.6 mm). The surgical technique included replacement of the aortic root with the pulmonary autograft combined with incision of the conal septum to relieve subaortic stenosis or accommodate for size discrepancy between the aortic and pulmonary autograft root and a pulmonary homograft placed in the right ventricular outflow tract.


There were no perioperative or late deaths at follow-up (range, 2 to 25 months; mean, 13.5 +/- 8 months). Mean hospital stay was 15 +/- 17 days (range, 4 to 53 days). Three children had the following complications: diaphragmatic paresis (1), delayed pericardial effusion (1), and atrioventricular block requiring a pacemaker (1). In follow-up, echocardiographic findings showed absent aortic regurgitation in 3 and trivial aortic regurgitation in 5, and no significant LVOTO (mean peak gradient, 6.2 +/- 7.6 mm Hg; range, 0 to 16 mm Hg). Pulmonary homograft regurgitation was absent in 5, trivial in 2, and moderate in 1. Peak right ventricular outflow tract gradient by echocardiogram was trivial in 7, and a significant gradient of 55 mm Hg has developed in 1 infant. There were no infective or embolic complications during follow-up.


Our experience shows that aortic root replacement with the pulmonary autograft can be performed in children with excellent clinical results. The technique of root replacement combined with ventriculoplasty allows definitive and simultaneous relief of complex and multiple-level obstructive lesions. Considering the growth potential of the pulmonary autograft, this should be regarded as the optimal treatment modality in infants with complex LVOTO:

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