Aortic valve replacement in children: Are mechanical prostheses a good option?

Christos Alexiou, Angus McDonald, Stephen M. Langley, Malcolm J.R. Dalrymple-Hay, Marcus P. Haw, James L. Monro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Objective: The choice of the most appropriate substitute in children with irreparable aortic valve lesions remains controversial. The aim of this study was to assess early and late outcomes following aortic valve replacement (AVR) with mechanical prostheses in children. Paitents: Fifty-six patients (42 male, 14 female, mean age 11.2, range 1-16 years) undergoing AVR with mechanical prostheses between October 1972 and January 1999 were evaluated. Thirty-six patients (64.2%) underwent previous cardiac surgery. Disease aetiology was congenital in 47 patients (congenital aortic stenosis in 33, and other congenital abnormalities in 14) (83.9%), infective in four (7.1%), rheumatic in two (3.4%), and three (5.3%) had connective tissue disorders. Haemodynamic indication for AVR was aortic regurgitation (AR) in 24 (42.8%), aortic stenosis (AS) in 22 (39.2%) and mixed disease in ten (17.8%). Twenty-eight patients (50.0%) were in New York Heart Association (NYHA) class III-IV before surgery. Concomitant procedures were performed in 31 patients (55.3%), including aortic root enlargement in 28 (50%). The mean size of implanted valves was 22.4 mm (range 17-27 mm). All patients received long-term anticoagulation treatment with sodium warfarin, aiming to maintain an international normalized ratio (INR) between 2.5-3.0. The mean follow-up was 7.3 years (range 0-26, total 405 patient-years). Results: Operative mortality was 5.3% (three patients). Three patients developed complete heart block requiring pacing, two of them permanently. Late events included valve thrombosis (one), transient stroke (one), paravalvular leak of a mitral prosthesis (one), aneurysm of sinus of Valsava (one) and pannus ingrowth (one). There was no major haemorrhagic event. Five patients required re-operation (8.9%), but none due to outgrowth of the valve. Regarding actuarial freedom from thrombo-embolism, any valve-related event and re-operation at 20 years was 93, 86.6 and 86.4%. There were three late deaths. Actuarial survival, including operative mortality, at 10 and 20 years was 91 and 84.9%. The actuarial survival for the group of the patients with congenital AS (n=33) at 10 and 20 years was 93.5%, whereas for the children with other congenital heart problems (n=14) this was 85.7 and 64.3% (P=0.09). At the latest clinical evaluation, 44 children were in NYHA class I and six were in class II. The mean gradient across the aortic prosthetic valve on echocardiography was 17.9 mmHg (range 0-47 mmHg). Conclusions: Mechanical AVR, with enlargement of the aortic root if necessary, remains an excellent treatment option in children. It is associated with acceptable operative mortality, low incidence of late events and re-operation, and provides good long-term survival. It clearly represents a good alternative to available biological substitutes, including the pulmonary autograft (Ross procedure). Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-133
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Irreparable aortic valve lesions
  • Mechanical aortic valve replacement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Aortic valve replacement in children: Are mechanical prostheses a good option?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this