Objective: Concerns have been voiced about possible dilation and insufficiency of the neo-aortic valve after the arterial switch operation (ASO).
Aims: To determine growth of the neo-aortic valve and the aortic anastomosis after ASO and the prevalence of insufficiency or stenosis.
Patients and methods: Since 1977, 144 consecutive patients (pts) underwent ASO for transposition of the great arteries (TGA). Median follow-up was 8.65 years (0.1--22.5 years). Simple TGA was present in 97 pts and 47 had TGA with ventricular septal defect (VSD). Detailed echocardiography included measurements of aortic diameter at four levels. The 608 measurements were compared with published normal values.
Results: The mean aortic valve z-score was 1.5, without significant change with age (P=0.75). Under 4 months, mean valve z-score was 0.63+/-2.20, between 5 and 12 months 2.56+/-2.30 (P<0.0001). Gradual growth occurs thereafter. The aortic sinus follows an identical growth pattern. The aorta at the anastomosis, is initially smaller than normal (z-score -0.64). After 4 months the z-score is 0.83, followed by continued growth of 0.1 z-score per year. At the last visit, the aortic valve z-score was above 2 in 51 patients, between -2 and 2 in 72 and less than -2 in six patients, none of whom had a flow velocity above 2 m/s. z-score of patients with VSD remained above those without VSD (P<0.0001). Aortic insufficiency was grade 2/4 in three patients, grade 3/4 in one and grade 4/4 in one. No patient developed aortic stenosis.
Conclusion: After ASO the neo-aortic valve and sinus are larger than normal, representing the natural size difference in the prenatal situation and influence of associated cardiac malformations. In the first year of life, rapid dilatation of the new aorta is observed, followed by growth towards normalization of the valve and sinus size. Stenosis at the anastomosis was not observed. Aortic dilatation by itself is rarely associated with significant insufficiency.