Why is the doctor performing this procedure?
To replace a malformed or poorly functioning aortic valve with the patient's pulmonary valve, and replace that pulmonary valve with a tissue homograft pulmonary valve from a human donor. This way, the patient's own pulmonary valve is used as his or her "new" aortic valve in a valve-switching procedure.
What is the procedure?
The Ross Procedure is a specific type of Valve Replacement Surgery. It is an open-heart surgery during which the pumping and oxygenation function of the heart is taken over by a heart-lung machine, and medications are given that briefly paralyze the heart (Cardioplegia). This way, the heart is completely at rest while the surgeon performs the double-replacement surgery. There are several steps:
The patient's poorly functioning aortic valve is removed.
The patient's own healthy pulmonary valve is removed and then sewn into place as the "new" aortic valve.
The patient's transplanted pulmonary valve is then replaced with a pulmonary valve from a human donor.
This surgical procedure can be especially advantageous in children, because the "new" aortic valve (really the patient's own pulmonary valve) may continue to grow appropriately with the other valves, and the heart, as the child grows.
Where is the procedure performed?
In the Operating Room (OR), under general anesthesia.
How long does this procedure take?
The Ross Procedure typically takes 4 - 6 hours.