Over the past 20 years, a series of procedures have been designed to reconstruct the aortic root of patients with aortic insufficiency, in whom the pathology and hence the surgery spares the valve leaflets. Such techniques have various names. Usually 'valve sparing' is used in context with chronic aortic dissection or aortic root aneurysm as in patients with Marfan's syndrome. 'Aortic valve salvage' tends to be the term of choice for similar surgical reconstruction in the setting of aortic dissection. 'Aortic valve repair' is often chosen when direct surgical procedures are performed on the leaflets themselves. All of the techniques have evolved based upon an increased understanding of the functional anatomy of the aortic root complex. The different technical approaches, their applications and results need to be understood by the cardiology community. The failure modes for such techniques are specific and different from prosthetic valve failure modes, but are adequately followed with echocardiography. Over two-thirds of patients remain free of re-development of significant aortic insufficiency at 8-10 years following surgery. The overall patient survival is more dependent upon the underlying cardiovascular status of the patient than the surgical technique itself. Perioperative mortalities vary between 0 and 6% and are comparable to composite valve+graft techniques and isolated aortic valve replacement, in which the operative mortality approximates 3.3-4%. Long-term results are good to excellent and spare the patient anticoagulation and prosthetic valve disease. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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