Valve repair for aortic insufficiency: Surgical classification and techniques

H. Sam Haydar, Guo Wei He, Hagop Hovaguimian, David M. McIrvin, Douglas H. King, Albert Starr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Objective: Valve repair for aortic insufficiency may provide an alternative to aortic valve replacement in selected patients. This repair could be an attempt at permanent correction or palliation to allow the aortic annulus to grow and avoid the use of anticoagulation. Based upon a five-year experience, we proposed a classification according to valvular anatomy which could be a guide to patient and procedure selection. Methods: Between September 1989 and February 1995, 44 consecutive patients underwent aortic valvuloplasty for aortic incompetence at our institution. Patients' ages ranged from 19 months to 76 years with a mean of 33 years. The etiology of aortic incompetence was congenital in 30 patients, degenerative in 7 patients, rheumatic in 5 patients, and infective endocarditis in 2. Aortic valve lesions were classified into three different types: type I, aortic annular dilatation (8 patients); type II, excessive aortic leaflet tissue (12 patients); and type III, restricted leaflet motion with or without deficient leaflet tissue (24 patients). Type I needed commissural plication in 7 patients; and aortic annuloplasty, which was simple in 6 patients, and pericardial-augmented in 2. Type II necessitated midleaflet excision in 11 patients and leaflet plication in 7. Type III required leaflet extension in 19 patients, leaflet replacement in 1 patient, aortic valve commissurotomy in 13 patients, augmentation commissurorrhaphy in 2, leaflet shaving in 4, and repair of leaflet perforation in 2. Results: Postoperative echocardiography revealed a significant decrease in the degree of aortic incompetence. Mean follow-up was 2.6 ± 1.4 years. There was no mortality. Patients improved as is evident by NYHA functional class postoperatively. Eight of the first 13 patients (18%) needed reoperation. Three of these reoperations were bail-out procedures, and 3 patients (7%) who underwent the leaflet extension technique were reoperated upon 19 months to 3 years later. Presently, 23 patients are without anticoagulation, 11 take aspirin and 2 receive coumadin for combined mitral procedures. Conclusions: Aortic valve repair provides a low risk option with satisfactory intermediate-term results for the treatment of aortic insufficiency in appropriately selected patients. Patient and procedure selection may be based upon the echocardiographic anatomy of the aortic valve, and a comparative risk benefit appraisal with valve replacement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-265
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Aortic insufficiency
  • Aortic valve
  • Repair
  • Technique
  • Valvuloplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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