The Ross Procedure

The Ross procedure is a surgical variation of an aortic valve replacement. The benefits of this procedure over traditional aortic valve replacement include longer life of the valves and no need for anticoagulation. These benefits are important in young patients and those who can get pregnant.

Ross Procedure Pre-Operative Details

Your surgeon will give specific instructions before the Ross procedure, including risks such as bleeding, infection, or adverse reaction to anesthesia. Please be sure to contact your insurance company for coverage. You will also meet with the anesthesiologist prior to the surgery to go over your medical history. Please do not eat after midnight the night before your surgery.

On the day of surgery, you will arrive at the hospital, register, and change into a hospital gown. A nurse will review your chart to make sure there are no problems. The anesthesiologist will then start an IV and you will be taken to the operating room, where the surgeon will verify your name and procedure before any medication is given. Surgery will begin once you are under anesthesia.

Ross Procedure Operative Details

The surgeon will begin by making a long incision in the breastbone and exposing the heart by spreading the rib cage. Once the surgeon reaches the heart, you will be put on cardiopulmonary bypass, a device that pumps oxygenated blood throughout the body, bypassing the heart and lungs so the surgeon can operate on the heart.

The surgeon will then remove the pulmonary valve and a segment of the main pulmonary artery. This segment will be used to replace the bad aortic valve. The diseased aortic valve, surrounding tissue, and aorta will be removed from the body, and the left and right coronary arteries are detached from the removed aorta.

The first pulmonic segment is then attached to the heart and aorta with the left and right coronary arteries attached onto this segment using stitches. Thus, the pulmonic segment replaces the aortic segment.

A separate pulmonic segment from a cadaver is then attached to the pulmonary artery and the heart.

The heart is restarted and the cardiopulmonary bypass is removed. The chest is then closed with temporary, precautionary pacing wires and chest tubes to allow blood drainage from the chest after the operation.

Ross Procedure Post-Operative Details

After the surgery, you will be taken to the intensive care unit and monitored. Pain is likely, so you’ll be given pain medication appropriately. You will also be on a respirator for up to a day after surgery to help with breathing and won’t be able to speak during this time. It’s important to keep the incision areas clean and dry.

The length of your hospital stay depends on how quickly you are able to recover and perform some physical activity. Please let your doctor know immediately if you experience fevers, severe pain, redness, swelling, warmth where the incisions were made, or drainage from the incisions. Your surgeon will give specific instructions about recovery time.

Request an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with a Ross procedure expert at UT Southwestern's facilities in Dallas or for more information about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.