Understanding the Aortic Root Using Computed Tomographic Assessment: A Potential Pathway to Improved Customized Surgical Repair

Circ Cardiovasc Imaging. 2021 Nov;14(11):e013134. doi: 10.1161/CIRCIMAGING.121.013134. Epub 2021 Nov 8.


There is continued interest in surgical repair of both the congenitally malformed aortic valve, and the valve with acquired dysfunction. Aortic valvar repair based on a geometric approach has demonstrated improved durability and outcomes. Such an approach requires a thorough comprehension of the complex 3-dimensional anatomy of both the normal and congenitally malformed aortic root. In this review, we provide an understanding of this anatomy based on the features that can accurately be revealed by contrast-enhanced computed tomographic imaging. We highlight the complimentary role that such imaging, with multiplanar reformatting and 3-dimensional reconstructions, can play in selection of patients, and subsequent presurgical planning for valvar repair. The technique compliments other established techniques for perioperative imaging, with echocardiography maintaining its central role in assessment, and enhances direct surgical evaluation. This additive morphological and functional information holds the potential for improving selection of patients, surgical planning, subsequent surgical repair, and hopefully the subsequent outcomes.

Keywords: aortic valve; echocardiography; heart disease; imaging, three-dimensional; tomography.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Valve / abnormalities
  • Aortic Valve / diagnostic imaging*
  • Aortic Valve / surgery
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / trends*
  • Echocardiography
  • Heart Valve Diseases / congenital
  • Heart Valve Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Heart Valve Diseases / surgery
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*