We use the heart-lung machine during aortic root replacement. During the surgery, we look at the root and valve leaflets and remove the enlarged root as needed. We replace the root with a polyester synthetic graft material which stays indefinitely. The risk for infection or aneurysm caused by the graft is very low. During the root replacement, we remove the two main coronary arteries from their insertion points as buttons and then re-implant into the synthetic graft material.
Often during an aortic root surgery, the valve leaflets need to be replaced. If they do, your surgeon may use a biological valve or a mechanical valve. Sometimes, the aortic valve leaflet can be spared. This is especially true in patients with genetic syndromes who are younger and have an isolated enlargement of the root with normal valve leaflets. If a patient is a good candidate, the leaflets can be saved and re-suspended within the polyester graft material.