Valley has experience treating aneurysms associated with severely leaking aortic valves (known as aortic regurgitation or aortic insufficiency) by manipulating aspects of the valve and the left ventricular outflow tract. 

Through this experience, cardiac surgeons at Valley are now using similar aortic valve repair techniques to address aortic regurgitation. 

Aortic Valve Repair vs. Replacement

  • Currently, at most institutions, leaking aortic valves are almost always replaced, rather than repaired. This is because of the largely inconsistent results after repair (at other institutions), and the subsequent need for re-operation.
  • Heart centers like Valley that have significant experience performing the David Procedure are often leading the way in aortic valve repair. That’s because every David Procedure involves some form of aortic valve repair.

Aortic Valve Repair Benefits

Valve repair as opposed to replacement offers the following advantages: 

  • Mechanical valves last forever but require life-long use of blood thinners
  • Tissue valves (from cow, pig, and horse) have limited durability; many require replacement at around 10 years
  • Replacing a valve usually corrects the aortic regurgitation (leaking) immediately. However, it can also cause some aortic stenosis (blockage) due to the stent needed with the animal tissue.
  • Aortic valve repair results in valve openings that are substantially larger than those of aortic valve replacements, and therefore does not result in this “functional” aortic stenosis.
  • Aortic valve repair leaves behind a living structure with the capacity for self-repair of minor injuries that usually lead to animal tissue valve deterioration

Why Choose Valley for Aortic Valve Repair?

  • Full range of aortic valve options: At Valley, we offer options for both aortic valve repair and replacement. That means that if aortic valve repair is not the best option for your situation, we have additional options for aortic valve replacement that may be, including TAVR for severe aortic stenosis.
  • Team approach to treating heart valve diseases: Our heart team takes a team approach to treating heart valve diseases. Through this team approach, we discuss with you — and with our team of heart specialists — the risks and benefits of different treatment options for heart valve repair and replacement. Together, we create an individualized plan that will best fit your needs.
  • Aortic valve surgery experience: The cardiac surgery team at Valley has performed more than 1,400 aortic valve replacements and repairs. These surgeries include patients with aortic valve disease only, aortic valve issues plus coronary artery bypass surgery, and patients with multiple damaged valves.
  • Long-term valve durability: Studies have shown that even 20 years later, patients whose valves have been repaired and re-implanted during a David Procedure experience similar lasting results as mechanical valves and do not need their valves replaced. At Valley, the Thoracic Aneurysm Program has also had good success repairing both tri-leaflet and bicuspid valves.