If you have aortic stenosis (a blockage in your aortic valve), or a diseased or damaged valve, but your heart disease is not severe enough to warrant a valve replacement, you may be a candidate for aortic valve repair.
Aortic valve repair (AVR) is surgery to mend the valve that keeps oxygenated blood flowing from the heart into the largest artery in the body (aorta). The repair may be done by reshaping part of the valve to allow it to open and close more completely or by using patches.
The Cooper Heart Institute has a renowned team of cardiothoracic surgeons who offer world-class care and have extensive experience performing aortic valve repair. Cooper has received a "3 star" rating for AVR surgery from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, placing it among the top 6 percent of hospitals nationally with similar programs. The ranking was based on our excellent surgical outcomes.
Understanding aortic valve repair
Aortic valve repair surgery can be performed using traditional open heart valve surgery or minimally invasive approaches.
During traditional aortic valve replacement surgery, the surgeon makes a large cut (incision) down the center of the chest. Then part or all of the breast bone (sternum) is divided, the heart is stopped, and blood is sent through a heart-lung machine to keep it pumping and oxygenated. The surgeon opens the aorta to reveal and repair the damaged or diseased valve. The repair may be done by reshaping part of the valve to allow it to open and close more completely or by using patches. Once completed, the heart is restarted and sternum is held together with wires.
During the minimally invasive approach, smaller incisions are used with the use of the heart lung machine. This approach typically reduces blood loss, and length of hospital stay.