The use of stentless valves for root replacement during repair of ascending aortic aneurysms with aortic valve regurgitation
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Background: Early and mid-term results of stentless valves for the treatment of ascending aortic aneurysm ( AAA) were evaluated in a retrospective manner. Material and Methods: During a four-year period 26 patients with ascending aortic aneurysms and aortic valve insuffiency underwent a total root replacement procedure using a stentless Freestyle valve (Medtronic Inc. Minneapolis MN). Mean age was 71 +/- 4 years ( range 66 to 79 years). Eight patients were in NYHA Class 2 13 in Class 3 and 5 in Class 4. Cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) was begun with femoral artery-right atrium (two-stage) cannulation in all cases but four in which the right axillary artery was used. Myocardial protection was established by retrograde cold-blood cardioplegia and direct antegrade blood cardioplegia from the right coronary ostium. The left ventricle outflow tract was constructed by using 2-0 ticron sutures and incorporating a pericardial strip in between. Coronary buttons were sewn to the xenograft with 6-0 polypropylene sutures. Meanwhile the patient was cooled down to 18 degrees nasopharyngeal temperature and the distal anastomosis with the proximal arch was performed with a Dacron graft under total circulatory arrest (TCA) using 4-0 polypropylene sutures. During rewarming the connection between the Freestyle valve and the Dacron graft was performed. Results: Ischemic time was 91 +/- 11 minutes and TCA time was 9 +/- 4 minutes. Operative mortality was zero and there was one 30-day mortality (3.8%). At discharge all 25 patients had a functional valve with low transvalvular gradients. Patients were followed for a mean period of 15 months with one patient being lost to follow-up and one patient dying of non-cardiac causes. Follow-up was 97% complete and echocardiographic control during the follow-up period revealed competent valves with gradients comparable to those at discharge. Two patients were screened with electron beam tomography (EBT) three years after the operation and there was no sign of wall or lea et calcification. At the end of the 15 months ( mean) follow-up the functional capacity of the patients had improved significantly (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Our early results suggest that use of the Freestyle valve in conjunction with a Dacron tube graft can be a good alternative for patients over 65 years of age who present with ascending aortic aneurysm with aortic valve insufficiency.