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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2007 Aug 29;362(1484):1407-19.

Aortic root dynamics and surgery: from craft to science.

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  • 1Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5247, USA.


Since the fifteenth century beginning with Leonardo da Vinci's studies, the precise structure and functional dynamics of the aortic root throughout the cardiac cycle continues to elude investigators. The last five decades of experimental work have contributed substantially to our current understanding of aortic root dynamics. In this article, we review and summarize the relevant structural analyses, using radiopaque markers and sonomicrometric crystals, concerning aortic root three-dimensional deformations and describe aortic root dynamics in detail throughout the cardiac cycle. We then compare data between different studies and discuss the mechanisms responsible for the modes of aortic root deformation, including the haemodynamics, anatomical and temporal determinants of those deformations. These modes of aortic root deformation are closely coupled to maximize ejection, optimize transvalvular ejection haemodynamics and-perhaps most importantly-reduce stress on the aortic valve cusps by optimal diastolic load sharing and minimizing transvalvular turbulence throughout the cardiac cycle. This more comprehensive understanding of aortic root mechanics and physiology will contribute to improved medical and surgical treatment methods, enhanced therapeutic decision making and better post-intervention care of patients. With a better understanding of aortic root physiology, future research on aortic valve repair and replacement should take into account the integrated structural and functional asymmetry of aortic root dynamics to minimize stress on the aortic cusps in order to prevent premature structural valve deterioration.

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