Dr. Aklog describes the Ross Procedure, a specialized aortic valve replacement surgery.
The Ross Procedure is a fairly complex operation that can be offered to younger patients who need an aortic valve replacement. The reason the Ross Procedure exists or is used is because in a younger patient, let’s say a woman in her early 30s who needs an aortic valve replacement, the standard choices, such as a mechanical valve or an animal tissue valve, really have serious downsides.
The downside of a mechanical valve in a woman in her early 30s is that she will need to be on blood thinners, on Coumadin, and the immediate problem with that is that it could be very challenging. Coumadin is a, can affect pregnancy, so it can be very challenging in a woman with a mechanical valve to safely undergo pregnancy and deliver a child.
The downside of a tissue valve in a young woman is really not a great, a tissuu valve in a young woman is not really a great option because they can wear out very quickly, and she could be faced with the option of having two or three replacements over her lifetime. So we really have one other option, and that is called the Ross Procedure.
And again, the Ross Procedure is fairly complicated, but what it really involves is taking a woman’s own normal functioning pulmonary valve, the valve on the right side of the heart, and taking it and actually using it to replace the diseased aortic valve.
And so you might ask, “Well, what do you do with the pulmonic valve?” Well, there we would put in a valve, a cadaver valve, a human cadaver valve, made from someone who has donated their heart valve on the right side. And so, as you might imagine, that’s a fairly complex procedure. The risk is slightly higher, but the advantage is that now you have someone who has a human tissue valve, does not require blood thinners, and the durability of that Ross Procedure is significantly higher than a standard animal tissue valve.
The other thing is that the performance of the valve, because it's a human valve, it’s superb. It’s better than any type of animal tissue valve or mechanical valve. So, people who are athletes can really function normally as if they had a normal valve.
About Dr. Aklog, M.D.:
Dr. Lishan Aklog is the current Director and Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery at The Heart and Lung Institute of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona and Director of EmpowHer's Medical Advisory Board. Specializing in adult cardiac care, he graduated from Harvard College followed by Harvard Medical School. Dr. Aklog was a cardiothoracic resident at Brigham and Women’s/Boston Children’s Hospital, an Associate Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, and completed international fellowships in London, England and Paris, France.
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