Reimplantation valve-sparing aortic root replacement with the Valsalva graft: What have we learnt after 100 cases?

Fabrizio Settepani, Marcello Bergonzini, Alessandro Barbone, Enrico Citterio, Alessio Basciu, Diego Ornaghi, Roberto Gallotti, Giuseppe Tarelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Reimplantation valve-sparing aortic root replacement has been increasingly performed with improving perioperative and midterm results. The success of this operation primarily depends on preserving the highly sophisticated dynamic function of the aortic valve by recreating an anatomical three-dimensional configuration similar to the normal aortic root, thus minimizing the mechanical stress and strain on the cusps. Over the years several techniques have been proposed to reproduce the sinuses of Valsalva. We reviewed our experience with aortic valve reimplantation by means of a modified Dacron graft that incorporates sinuses of Valsalva, in a series of 100 consecutive patients. Methods: During a 60-month period, 100 patients with aortic root aneurysm underwent aortic valve reimplantation using the Gelweave Valsalva™ prosthesis. There were 74 males and the mean age was 60±12 years (range 28-83 years). Five patients had the Marfan's syndrome, 15 had a bicuspid aortic valve. Cusp repair was performed in five patients. The mean follow-up time was 28.6 months (range 1-60). Transesophageal echocardiogram was performed at the end of each procedure to assess the aortic valve in terms of competence, dynamic motion and level of coaptation within the graft. Results: There was one hospital death and two late deaths. Overall survival at 60 months was 91.7±5.1%. Five patients developed severe aortic incompetence (AI) during follow-up requiring aortic valve replacement (AVR). The 60 months freedom from re-operation due to AI was 90.9±4.4%. One patient had moderate AI at latest echocardiographic study. The 60 months freedom from AI>2+ was 91.6±7.9%. Cox regression identified cusp's repair as independent risk factor (P=0.001) for late reimplantation failure (AVR or AI>2+). There were no episodes of endocarditis and the majority of the patients (88%) were in New York Heart Association functional class I. Conclusions: The aortic valve reimplantation with the Gelweave Valsalva™ prosthesis provided satisfactory mid-term results. An accurate assessment of the level of coaptation of the aortic cusps in respect to the lower rim of the Dacron graft by means of intraoperative transesophageal echocardiogram at the end of each procedure is mandatory in order to avoid early reimplantation failure. Cusp's repair may play an important role in the development of late AI. However, long-term results are needed in order to define the durability of this technique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-116
Number of pages4
JournalInteractive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


  • Aortic surgery
  • Aortic valve
  • Valve-sparing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Surgery


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