Aortic root surgery is a procedure to treat an enlarged section, or aneurysm of the aorta. The aorta is the large blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body. The aortic root is located near where the aorta and heart connects.
Why it's done
Doctors perform aortic root surgery to prevent a burst aneurysm. They also perform it to prevent a tear in the inner layer of the aorta's wall (aortic dissection). They also do it to prevent the enlarged aorta from stretching the attached aortic valve. Aortic aneurysms near the aortic root may be related to Marfan syndrome and other heart or inherited conditions.
How you prepare
Before aortic root surgery, your doctor may talk with you about the most appropriate treatment or surgery for your condition. Together, you will discuss surgery benefits and risks.
Your doctor will evaluate your risk of an aortic dissection. This is a tear in the inner layer of the wall of the large blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body, or aorta.
Your doctor will likely also measure the aorta when deciding if you're a surgery candidate.
What you can expect
A surgeon may perform aortic root surgery by removing a section of the large blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body, or aorta. They can also remove the aortic valve. They can then replace the section of the aorta with an artificial tube. The surgeon replaces the aortic valve with a mechanical or biological valve. If you have a mechanical valve, you'll need to take blood-thinning medications for life to prevent blood clots.
In another procedure, the surgeon replaces the enlarged section of the aorta with an artificial tube. The aortic valve stays in place.
If you have some other heart conditions, your surgeon may perform additional procedures to treat these at the same time.