Although it has been almost 30 years since Ross described his technique for aortic valve replacement using the pulmonary autograft, only recently has there been widespread interest in the use of the Ross procedure for aortic valve replacement in children with congenital heart disease. Since July 1992 we have performed the Ross procedure in 46 patients, 40 of whom were < or = 18 years of age at the time of surgery. In 10 children the procedure was combined with Konno ventriculoplasty, and in 3 others a Ross-Konno procedure was used for biventricular repair of borderline hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The only early deaths were in two of the patients with borderline hypoplastic left heart syndrome. There has been no late mortality, and two patients have required reoperation: one for recurrent distal aortic arch obstruction, and one for moderate-severe autograft insufficiency. Freedom from reoperation at 30 months is 89%. Aside from one patient with moderate autograft insufficiency and eight with mild regurgitation, all patients have trace or no aortic insufficiency at follow-up ranging from 1 to 38 months (median 22 months). The Ross procedure is an important advance in the treatment of aortic valve disease in pediatric patients. It is the only available replacement for the aortic valve that has growth potential, and there is ample evidence that the pulmonary autograft holds up well in the systemic circulation.
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