Twenty-two patients with congenital valvular aortic stenosis were surgically treated between 1967 and July 1975. Five (23%) were under 1 year of age (group I) and 17 (77%) were between 2 and 24 years (group II). All infants exhibited severe congestive heart failure and electrocardiographi (ECG) evidence of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) with strain pattern. In group II, angina was present in three cases, syncope and fatigue in two; the ECG indicated LVH in 10 cases (59%) with strain pattern in five (29%). A bicuspid aortic valve was present in 77% (17/22) of the cases; 32% had other cardiac anomalies. Aortic valvotomy was performed on cardiopulmonary bypass in 20 cases, and with deep hypothermia and circulatory arrest in two. Three infants under 1 month of age with associated anomalies died (hospital mortality 14%). Intraoperative average peak left ventricular-aortic systolic pressure gradient decreased from 86 to 21 mmHg (P less than 0.001). Late clinical (in all cases) and haemodynamic (26%) follow-up showed severe restenosis in two patients of group II; one of them had a second operation, the other one died three and a half years postoperatively. Results assessed on the basis of symptoms, ECG changes, aortic valve function, and/or haemodynamic findings were fair in the two surviving infants. Results in group II were excellent in three, satisfactory in seven, fair in four, and poor in two cases. In infants, aortic valvotomy is a palliative procedure which carries a high risk. In the older age group, early and late results are more gratifying.
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