Recurrent significant aortic valvular stenosis or regurgitation, or both, after balloon or open valvotomy in pediatric patients often necessitates aortic valve replacement. In an attempt to preserve the aortic valve, we performed extended aortic valvuloplasty in 21 children with recurrent aortic valve stenosis or regurgitation from January 1989 to March 1993. Previous related procedures were one open aortic valvotomy or more (n = 15), balloon valvotomy (n = 4), balloon valvotomy after surgical valvotomy (n = 1), and repair of iatrogenic valve tear (n = 1). Mean age at the time of the extended aortic valvuloplasty was 6 +/- 3.4 years. Mean pressure gradient across the aortic valve was 56 +/- 12 torr. Regurgitation was moderate (grade 2 to 3) in nine and severe (grade 4) in 12 patients. Extended aortic valvuloplasty techniques consisted of thinning of valve leaflets (n = 15), augmentation of scarred and retracted leaflets with autologous pericardium (n = 11), resuspension of the augmented leaflet (n = 14), release of the rudimentary commissure from the aortic wall (n = 5), extension of the valvotomy incision into the aortic wall on both sides of the commissure (n = 20), patch repair of the sinus of Valsalva perforation (n = 1), reapproximation of tears (n = 5), and narrowing of the ventriculoaortic junction (n = 2). No operative deaths occurred. The postoperative mean pressure gradient, assessed by most recent Doppler echocardiography or cardiac catheterization at a follow-up of 18 +/- 6 months, was 19 +/- 6 torr (p < 0.01 versus the preoperative gradient). Aortic regurgitation was absent in 13, mild in 6, and moderate-to-severe, necessitating subsequent aortic valve replacement, in 2. This short-term experience indicates that extended aortic valvuloplasty is a safe and effective surgical approach that minimizes the need for aortic valve replacement in children with significant recurrent aortic valve stenosis or regurgitation.