Aortic root anatomy after aortic valve reimplantation

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2021 Apr 16;S0022-5223(21)00695-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2021.03.115. Online ahead of print.


Objective: During the last decade, special concerns have been raised about the anatomic relationships among the sinotubular junction, ventricular-aortic junction, and virtual basal ring to improve the results of root reconstruction. The aim of this study is to evaluate the in vivo anatomy of the aortic root after reimplantation with the Valsalva graft and the anatomic relationship between its components.

Methods: We analyzed 10 consecutive patients with tricuspid aortic valves who underwent reimplantation with the Valsalva graft between September and December 2019. Surgical clips were applied as markers at the level of proximal annular knots and at the distal reimplanted commissures on the neo-sinotubular junction. Electrocardiogram-gated computed tomography scan of the aortic root was performed. Coordinates of the markers were exported on a 3-dimensional modeling software, and the distances between the virtual basal ring and the Dacron graft basal landmarks were measured.

Results: The mean heights of Dacron graft basal landmarks from virtual basal ring were right-left commissure 7.1 ± 5.1 mm; right sinus 4.7 ± 4.1 mm; right-noncoronary commissure 2.8 ± 2.2 mm; noncoronary sinus 1.4 ± 1.6 mm; left-noncoronary commissure 2.2 ± 2.3 mm; and left sinus 2.0 ± 0.9 mm. The mean planar distances of basal Dacron graft landmarks from virtual basal ring (thickness) were right-left commissure 5.3 ± 3.1 mm; right sinus 2.8 ± 1.4 mm; right-noncoronary commissure 2.2 ± 1.5 mm; noncoronary sinus 1.5 ± 1.5 mm; left-noncoronary commissure 1.3 ± 1.0 mm; and left sinus 3.4 ± 2.5 mm.

Conclusions: After reimplantation, despite a complete dissection of the root, slight asymmetry of graft proximal seating exists. The inner annuloplasty is on the virtual basal ring, and the proximal edge of the Dacron graft is on the ventricular-aortic junction at a slightly different thickness and height along the annular circumference. At the level of the right sinus and left/right commissure, the Dacron graft is higher than the virtual basal ring and the relative wall thickness is increased. The annular stabilization is unaffected.

Keywords: annuloplasty; aortic annulus; aortic valve anatomy; aortic valve repair; tricuspid aortic valve; valve-sparing surgery; virtual basal ring.