Objective: Valve-sparing surgery can be used in patients with dilated aortic roots and aortic insufficiency (AI) but has not become a common practice, in part because the spared valve may be incompetent. Our goal was to study how the dimensions of the aortic root and leaflets have changed in such patients. Methods: Fourteen patients with dilated aortic root and AI were examined by transesophageal echocardiography. The annulus diameter, sinotubular junction (STJ) diameter, sinus height, leaflet free-edge length, and leaflet height were measured. Correlations among these dimensions and with the AI grades were explored. Measurements were also made in 19 normal human aortic valves from silicone molds. Results: There was no evident change in the average diameter of the annulus between the normal valves and those in the dilated aortic roots. The STJ diameter was obviously increased in the dilated aortic roots; the aortic sinuses also appeared to be taller and the leaflets larger than normal. The leaflet free-edge length, the leaflet height, and the sinus height were found to increase with the dilated STJ diameter. The degree of AI was not found to correlate well with any of the dimensions measured. Conclusions: The dimensions of the leaflets may change parallel to aortic root dilatation with AI. Therefore, during valve sparing, it may be necessary to correct both the dilatation of the root and the leaflet free-edge length to achieve a competent valve.
- Aortic root
- Aortic valve
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine