OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the early results of a new method to repair malfunctioning bicuspid aortic valves by creating a tricuspid valve with a crown-like (i.e. anatomic) annulus.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Twelve patients (ages from 10 to 27 years) with chronic regurgitation (and flow-dependent stenosis) of a bicuspid aortic valve underwent repair with the principle of creating a tricuspid valve and a crown-like annulus. The fused leaflets were trimmed and reinserted underneath the existing aortic annulus to create one new native cusp. The third leaflet was fashioned out of a xenopericard patch and was inserted underneath the existing annulus as well to restore the crown-like anatomy of a normal aortic annulus. A tricuspid aortic valve with a morphologically normal annulus was thus created, which resulted in improved coaptation of the leaflets. The repair was immediately assessed by transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) with the heart loaded at 50%. In two patients, a second run helped fine-tune the repair. Median cross-clamping time was 82 min. Follow-up ranged from 3 to 46 months (median 13 months).
RESULTS: No significant complication occurred. The function of the aortic valve was excellent with trivial or mild regurgitation in 11 patients and moderate regurgitation in 1 patient. There was no stenosis across the valve. The repair remained stable over time. Remodelling of the left ventricle occurred as expected.
CONCLUSIONS: Aortic valve repair is feasible in some dysfunctioning bicuspid aortic valves. Tricuspidisation of the valve can result in excellent systolic and diastolic functions. The creation of a crown-like annulus results in improved coaptation of the cusps and could lead to more reliable outcome. Although long-term results are needed, this anatomic correction seems to be a good alternative to valvular replacement in certain sub-groups of patients.