Children's Heart Institute
The Ross procedure is a complicated operation designed for people who need a new aortic valve. The heart has four valves, which keep blood flowing in one direction. The aortic valve sits between the left ventricle and the aorta. The left ventricle is the main pumping chamber of the heart and continually pumps oxygenated blood from the heart to the body. After the left ventricle squeezes and pumps blood into the body's blood vessels, the aortic valve functions to keep the ejected blood from going back into the left ventricle.
Problems with heart valves usually fall into one of two categories: the valve may leak (allow the back filling of blood into the ventricle) or it may be tight (not allowing blood to easily pass through in the correct direction). Either of these problems may cause the need for a new valve.
Replacement heart valves traditionally come in two types:
The Ross procedure is an aortic valve replacement in which the patient's pulmonary valve - the valve between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery which goes to the lungs - is removed and placed where the aortic valve usually sits. The demands of the valve in the pulmonary position are much less than in the aortic position, since the pressures on the right side of the heart are much less than on the left side.
The patient's pulmonary valve (now in the aortic position) may last a lifetime. No anti-clotting medication is needed. Another advantage of the Ross procedure in children is that the pulmonary valve will grow in the aortic position and an oversized new pulmonary valve may be placed. In other words, it decreases the number of times children will need another operation to replace a valve which has become too small.
The Ross procedure can be a wonderful alternative for young people who need a new aortic valve, without a lifetime of anti-clotting medication.
Risks associated with the Ross procedure include:
The decision whether the Ross procedure or a conventional valve replacement is the better option depends on the patient's individual circumstance and should be discussed fully with the family, patient, and physicians.
Pediatric Cardiology ClinicUniversity of Texas Health Science Center Professional Building
6410 Fannin, Suite 500
Houston, TX 77030
Phone: (832) 325-6516
Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery ClinicUniversity of Texas Health Science Center Professional Building6410 Fannin, Suite 950Houston, TX 77030
Phone: (713) 500-7339
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