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Causes and management of aortic valve regurgitation after aortic valve reimplantation

Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2012.03.016
  • Medicine


Objective Recurrent aortic regurgitation can occur after valve-preserving aortic replacement. Little is known about the exact mechanisms of valve failure and the best reoperative strategies. We analyzed our experience with reoperation after aortic valve reimplantation. Methods From November 1995 to August 2011, 13 patients (10 men; age, 18–58 years) underwent reoperation for valve failure after aortic valve reimplantation. The reason for reoperation was aortic regurgitation in 11 and endocarditis in 2 after 6 weeks to 13 years. The morphologic causes of regurgitation were cusp prolapse in 6, cusp retraction in 4, cusp perforation in 6, inadequate commissural height in 5, commissural dehiscence in 2, and inadequate valve configuration in 1, alone or combined. The patients were treated by valve replacement (n = 4) or cusp repair (n = 2). In 3 patients, composite replacement of the valve and root was necessary, in 1 with a pulmonary autograft. In 4 patients the aortic valve was spared. All patients were followed up regularly. Results No patient died early; 1 patient died 4 years after reoperation. One patient required reoperation 2 years after the cusp repair procedure. All patients with repeat valve-preserving root replacement had stable valve function postoperatively. The 5-year survival rate after reoperation was 86% ± 13%. The 5-year rate of freedom from valve-related complications was 78% ± 14%. Conclusions Recurrent aortic regurgitation early after aortic valve reimplantation frequently involves cusp prolapse and a low commissural height; later, cusp retraction becomes more important. Reoperation within the first 6 postoperative months allows for preservation of the native aortic valve; however, beyond this period, valve replacement within the graft will mostly be required.

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