The Ross procedure is a complicated operation designed for people who need a new aortic valve. The heart has four valves, which keep blood flowing in one direction. The aortic valve sits between the left ventricle and the aorta. The left ventricle is the main pumping chamber of the heart and continually pumps oxygenated blood from the heart to the body. After the left ventricle squeezes and pumps blood into the body's blood vessels, the aortic valve functions to keep the ejected blood from going back into the left ventricle.
Problems with heart valves usually fall into one of two categories: the valve may leak (allow the back filling of blood into the ventricle) or it may be tight (not allowing blood to easily pass through in the correct direction). Either of these problems may cause the need for a new valve.
Replacement heart valves traditionally come in two types:
The Ross procedure is an aortic valve replacement in which the patient's pulmonary valve - the valve between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery which goes to the lungs - is removed and placed where the aortic valve usually sits. The demands of the valve in the pulmonary position are much less than in the aortic position, since the pressures on the right side of the heart are much less than on the left side.
The patient's pulmonary valve (now in the aortic position) may last a lifetime. No anti-clotting medication is needed. Another advantage of the Ross procedure in children is that the pulmonary valve will grow in the aortic position and an oversized new pulmonary valve may be placed. In other words, it decreases the number of times children will need another operation to replace a valve which has become too small.
The Ross procedure can be a wonderful alternative for young people who need a new aortic valve, without a lifetime of anti-clotting medication.
Risks associated with the Ross procedure include:
The decision whether the Ross procedure or a conventional valve replacement is the better option depends on the patient's individual circumstance and should be discussed fully with the family, patient, and physicians.
At Children’s Heart Institute at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, patients with congenital or acquired heart disorders receive hands-on specialized care 24/7 from a team of affiliated physicians and specialty-trained nurses who aim to deliver the best possible outcomes.
Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital was named one of the top 50 best children's hospitals nationally in Cardiology & Heart Surgery by U.S. News & World Report, and Children’s Heart Institute earned the distinguished three-star rating from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) for patient care and outcomes in congenital heart surgery. As one of only 12 three-star programs, Children’s Heart Institute ranks among the elite in the United States and Canada for congenital heart surgery.
In collaboration with various subspecialties, the affiliated team provides comprehensive care for newborns, children and adolescents, with the ability to transition into adult congenital cardiac care. Team members have the experience and skills necessary to offer innovative treatment methods and specialized services, including, but not limited to:
With the Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and a dedicated Children’s Heart Institute Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, critical heart patients have access to quality, specialized care. By utilizing state-of-the-art techniques, the team at Children’s Heart Institute strives to offer patients with the most complex problems the greatest opportunity for a normal life.
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The Children’s Heart Institute at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital is affiliated with the physicians at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and the UT Physicians Pediatric Outpatient Clinics across Greater Houston. Affiliated physicians evaluate patients at UT Physicians clinic locations and perform all inpatient procedures and treatments at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.