Pulmonary autograft in aortic position: is everything known?
The Ross operation provides several advantages compared to other valve substitutes to manage aortic valve disease, such as growth potential, excellent hemodynamics, freedom from oral anticoagulation and hemolysis, and better durability. However, progressive dilatation of the pulmonary autografts after Ross operation reflects the inadequate remodeling of the native pulmonary root in the systemic circulation, which results in impaired adaptability to systemic pressure and risk of reoperation after the first decade. A recently published article showed that remodeling increased wall thickness and decreased stiffness in the failed specimens after Ross operation, and the increased compliance might play a key role in determining the progressive long-term autograft root dilatation. Late dilatation can be counteracted by an external barrier which prevents failure. Therefore, an inclusion cylinder technique with a native aorta or a synthetic external support, such as Dacron, might stabilize the autograft root and improve long-term outcomes. In this article, we offer a prospective about the importance of biomechanical features in future developments of the Ross operation. Pre-clinical and clinical evaluations of the biomechanical properties of these reinforced pulmonary autografts might shed new light on the current debate about the long-term fate of the pulmonary autograft after Ross procedure.