When to operate on the bicuspid valve patient with a modestly dilated ascending aorta

Christian D. Etz, Stefano Zoli, Robert Brenner, Fabian Roder, Moritz Bischoff, Carol A. Bodian, Gabriele Diluozzo, Randall B. Griepp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Bicuspid aortic valves (BAV) are frequently associated with root/ascending aorta dilatation, but there is controversy regarding when to operate to prevent dissection of a dilated aorta associated with a well-functioning BAV. Methods: From 1988 through 2008, 158 patients (mean age: 56 ± 13.5 years) with a dilated ascending aorta (AA) and a well-functioning BAV were referred to our institution. All patients underwent computed tomographic (CT) scanning and digitization to calculate mean AA diameter. Forty-two patients underwent operation a median of 52 days after initial CT scan with a mean AA diameter of 5.6 ± 0.5 cm. One hundred sixteen patients (mean diameter 4.6 ± 0.5 cm) were enrolled in annual or semiannual surveillance. Seventy-one patients, 45 with 2 or more CT scans, are still under surveillance. Results: Average follow-up was 6.5 ± 4.1 years. Overall survival after the first encounter was 93% at 5 years and 85% at 10 years. A total of 87 of 158 patients had a Bentall or Yacoub procedure, with two hospital deaths (2.3%). Mean duration of surveillance in the 116 patients without immediate operation was 4.2 ± 2.9 years (481 patient-years). Average growth rate of the AA in patients with 2 scans or greater was 0.77 mm/year (p <0.0001 versus normal population) with no significant impact of hypertension, sex, smoking or age. Forty-five of the 116 surveillance patients underwent operation after a mean of 3.4 ± 2.9 years (mean age 55 ± 14.7 years; mean AA diameter 4.9 ± 0.6 cm). Six patients died without surgery, median age 82 (range, 44 to 87) years, but none within one year of the last CT scan. Conclusions: A consistent approach to patients with a well-functioning BAV and AA dilatation, recommending operation to those with an AA diameter greater than 5 cm and deferring operation in patients under surveillance in the absence of significant enlargement (>0.5 cm/year), resulted in overall survival equivalent to a normal age-matched and sex-matched population. Operation was necessary in approximately 10% of patients under surveillance each year.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1884-1890
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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