Aortic valve sparing root surgery for Marfan syndrome
Aortic valve sparing root surgery (AVSRS) is a safe and durable alternative for patients with dilated roots or pure aortic regurgitation (AR), which avoids the risks of anticoagulation or valvular degeneration with prosthetic valves. Notwithstanding the theoretical challenges of greater tissue fragility in Marfan syndrome (MFS), AVSRS has been demonstrated to have equal outcomes in this condition as it does in those without MFS. The benefits of retaining the native aortic valve in this generally younger age group extend beyond those of avoiding the inconvenience and complications of prolonged exposure to anticoagulants and include ease of management for future aortic, cardiac and non-cardiac procedures which are the norm for these patients. The essential principles of AVSRS in MFS do not differ from those for the rest of the population. Successful repair and durable valve function depend on a sound understanding of the close interaction between the structure and function of this exquisitely designed piece of engineering. We are fortunate to have numerous tools in our surgical armamentarium to preserve these valves. It is the purpose of this paper to demystify the complex structure-function interactions of the aortic valve, thereby gaining an intuition for AVSRS. We will also elaborate on specific technical details of established techniques that we have found successful in preserving the normal function of these valves in the long term.