Sparing aortic valve techniques
Prosthetic valve implantation is the most widely used therapeutic option for aortic regurgitation (AR), but complications associated with prosthetic valves, with an incidence of 3–5% patient/year, and the need for anticoagulation in mechanical valves, force us to consider aortic valve repair as an alternative to the prosthetic implant, especially in young people with many potential years of life for these complications. Aortic valve repair techniques are not excessively complicated, but there is no standardization, so they are not reproducible in all medical centers. There are multiple repair procedures, but to study them we can divide, arbitrarily, into two large groups, techniques for treatment of aortic root dilatation (reimplantation and remodeling); and repair techniques without treatment of the aortic root, that act on annulus and on aortic leaflets. The two sets of techniques are often used together, but it is easier to understand them if this arbitrary division is made. Our goal is to publish our experience and knowledge of repair techniques to facilitate their learning by other professionals. In this article, we will focus on the procedures on the aortic annulus and leaflets, because they can be applied in patients without aortic root dilatation, but they are also complementary to the reimplantation and remodeling techniques. We will present the procedures describing them individually, with an explanation in text accompanied by three videos in which the application of each technique is visualized in several cases. The standardization of sparing aortic valve techniques is difficult, because each patient requires its individualized application, yet we have tried to illustrate reproducible procedures so that professionals have more tools to deal with aortic valve-preserving surgery.