Redondo Beach, CA (PressExposure) July 09, 2009 -- Due to the highly publicized heart surgeries of actor and comedian, Robin Williams, and former First Lady of the United States, Barbara Bush, the general population has become familiar with some of the challenges and opportunities specific to aortic valve disease.
Reports suggest that between 20,000 and 40,000 aortic valve replacement surgeries are performed annually in the United States. Cardiothoracic surgeons may use different approaches to surgically treat aortic valve disorders including aortic valve stenosis and aortic valve regurgitation.
In addition to traditional open-heart surgery, in which the sternum is broken, other minimally invasive surgeries are now offered to patients. Procedures including mini-sternotomy and transcathether surgical approaches offer less physical trauma to the body and, in many cases, accelerated recovery.
âLike most things in life, there are trade-offs for patients when they evaluate surgical procedures and valve replacement devices,â notes Adam Pick, author of The Patientâs Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. âGiven my lifestyle, I chose the Ross Procedure for aortic valve replacement when I was diagnosed with severe stenosis.â
According to The Cleveland Clinic, the Ross Procedure is usually performed on patients younger than fifty who want to avoid taking long-term anticoagulant medications after surgery (e.g. Coumadin). During this surgical procedure, which was first performed by Dr. Donald Ross in 1967, the patient's own pulmonary valve is removed and used to replace the diseased aortic valve. The pulmonary valve is then replaced with a cryopreserved cadaveric valve.
Although some suggest that the Ross Procedure adds unnecessary risk due to the complex nature of this double valve replacement, certain clinical results appear promising.
For example, Dr. Paul Stelzer, of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, has performed over 400 Ross Procedures since 1987. Stelzerâs clinical results suggest that less than 10% of patients require re-operation up to 10 years after surgery.
Other leading Ross Procedure surgeons that have received patient and caregiver testimonials at Adamâs Heart Valve Surgery Blog (http://www.heart-valve-surgery.com/heart-surgery-blog/) are Dr. Vaughn Starnes, Dr. Mark Bleiweis, Dr. John Oswalt and Dr. William Ryan.
âThe Ross Procedure is not for every patient,â notes Adam Pick, âHowever, I am thrilled Dr. Starnes was able to perform the Ross Procedure on me.â