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Heart & Lung Centre

Chest surgery involving organs in the thorax (typically heart & lungs)

Key Procedure Focus: Aortic Root Aneurysm

The aorta is the large blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The aortic root is the section of the aorta closest to and attached to the heart.

An aortic aneurysm is an abnormal bulge in the wall of the aorta. If an aneurysm develops in the aortic root, the aorta can dilate and the aortic valve can leak. If the aneurysm continues to expand, it can rupture. The layers of the aortic wall can also separate (aortic dissection). This can cause life-threatening internal bleeding.

Aortic root aneurysms, like other aortic aneurysms, can be caused by atherosclerosis, or “hardening of the arteries.” In atherosclerosis, the build-up of fat and cholesterol causes the aortic wall to break down and become weak.

Aortic root aneurysms are also often found in patients with Marfan Syndrome and other genetic disorders characterised by weakened connective tissues.

At CVSKL, our thoracic team treats aortic root aneurysms with two types of highly advanced surgeries:

Valve sparing aortic root replacement is a surgery that repairs the portion of the aorta closest to the heart (the aortic root), while preserving the patient’s own aortic valve. In this procedure, your surgeon replaces the enlarged section of your aorta with an artificial tube (graft). Your aortic valve remains in place.

Aortic root replacement involves the removal of a section of your aorta and your aortic valve. The section of your aorta is replaced with an artificial tube (graft), and your aortic valve is replaced with a mechanical or biological valve. If you have a mechanical valve, you’ll need to take anticoagulant medications for life to prevent blood clots.

(To include photo on aortic root replacement)

Personalised External Aortic Root Support (PEARS) Surgery
Standard of care for Marfan’s syndrome

Marfan’s syndrome is a genetic disorder of the connective tissues of which the most serious complication involves the heart and aorta. If left untreated, it can lead to mitral valve prolapse and mitral regurgitation, where leaking of blood backwards occurs from the left ventricle to the left atrium.

Personalised external aortic root support (PEARS) surgery has been developed as an alternative surgical method to prevent dilatation of the aortic root in Marfan patients. It involves surgical implantation of an individualised mesh support around the aortic root and the ascending aorta. With 3-dimensional printing utilising the imaging data, a plastic model of the aortic root unique to each patient is produced. This plastic model is then used as a form upon which the mesh is produced, which fits perfectly to each individual patient’s aortic root shape.

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