Aortic Valve Replacement and Repair

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Children with severe aortic valve stenosis may be eligible for aortic valve surgery to repair the narrowed valve. In some cases, the cardiothoracic surgeons at Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, will have to perform an aortic valve repair or replacement.

All types of aortic valve repairs or replacements have excellent success rates. These procedures also have few complications.

Children who have aortic valve repair or replacement surgery frequently enjoy normal, healthy lives. These children can expect little to no restrictions on playing sports and other activities.

Aortic Valve Repair Surgery

Your child’s cardiothoracic surgeon will consider aortic valve surgery if a balloon valvuloplasty doesn’t sufficiently restore normal heart function.

Even after successful balloon valvuloplasty, the aortic valve can begin to narrow again as your child grows. Repair or replacement of the aortic valve would then be the next step in treatment.

The board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists at Norton Children’s Heart Institute have experience and training in the latest aortic valve surgery techniques, including the Ozaki procedure.

The Ozaki procedure is an innovative technique that can prevent the need for an aortic valve replacement. Cardiothoracic surgeons use a piece of the pericardium — the membrane that surrounds the heart — in this procedure. The surgeon cuts the tissue into three precise valve leaflets and uses the tissue to rebuild the aortic valve.

While the procedure has been common in adults, the specialists at Norton Children’s Heart Institute have adapted this and other techniques to help children.

Other aortic valve surgery repairs may include:

  • Leaflet sculpting (valvuloplasty)
  • Leaflet replacement

Aortic Valve Replacement

Norton Children’s Heart Institute cardiothoracic surgeons will plan an aortic valve replacement only when repair isn’t possible. Replacement procedures may include:

  • Mechanical valve placement: These valves can last for more than 20 years and may need replacement eventually.
  • Ross procedure: The child’s own pulmonary valve replaces the aortic valve. A donor valve replaces the pulmonary valve. The donor valve goes in the pulmonary position because it will face less pressure and stress there.

Your child’s condition and unique needs will determine which type of aortic valve replacement procedure your child’s surgeon will use.

Norton Children’s Heart Institute is the leading provider of pediatric heart care in Louisville and Southern Indiana.

Norton Children’s Heart Institute has a network of remote diagnostic and treatment services in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

Aortic Valve Surgery Complications and After Care

Most children need to stay in the hospital for seven to 10 days after aortic valve repair or replacement surgery. Most are able to return to normal activities soon after surgery.

Why Choose Norton Children’s Heart Institute

  • Norton Children’s Hospital has been a pioneer in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, performing Kentucky’s first pediatric heart transplant in 1986 and becoming the second site in the United States to perform an infant heart transplant.
  • The American Board of Thoracic Surgery has certified our cardiothoracic surgeons in congenital heart surgery.
  • The Adult Congenital Heart Association has accredited Norton Children’s Heart Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program as the only comprehensive care center in Kentucky and Indiana treating adults born with a heart defect.
  • More than 17,000 children a year visit Norton Children’s Heart Institute for advanced heart care.
  • Norton Children’s Heart Institute has offices across Kentucky and Southern Indiana to bring quality pediatric heart care closer to home.
  • The Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at Norton Children’s Hospital is the largest dedicated CICU in Kentucky, equipped with 17 private rooms and the newest technology available for heart care.

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