Current treatments for congenital aortic stenosis

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Purpose of review

Congenital valvar aortic stenosis is a challenging disease that often requires repeated palliative procedures. Stenosis can range from mild and asymptomatic, not requiring intervention, to severe, as seen in hypoplastic left heart syndrome. New advances such as fetal balloon valvuloplasty, improvements in the Ross technique, and long-term studies of trans-catheter balloon valvuloplasty and surgical valvotomy warrant a review of the outcomes and optimal timing of the various interventions.

Recent findings

Fetal balloon valvuloplasty has shown promise. Despite some mortality and morbidity, some fetuses are showing significant growth in left ventricular structures, allowing biventricular repair. In neonates and infants with congenital aortic stenosis, excellent initial results are obtained with trans-catheter balloon valvuloplasty, although stenosis resistant to further balloon dilation or regurgitation may develop, necessitating surgical intervention. Midterm results from the Ross procedure are encouraging, demonstrating low rates of mortality, aortic insufficiency and re-intervention. Stenosis of the pulmonary allograft may be inevitable, and recent long-term follow-up suggests an increase in aortic insufficiency.


While availability of fetal balloon valvuloplasty is limited, it has promise for promoting in-utero left ventricle growth and improving function. The optimal procedure for infants and neonates is trans-catheter balloon valvuloplasty. For older patients, the Ross procedure is the repair of choice, although more long-term studies are needed to assess the natural course of the autograft. Outcomes should improve with advances in pulmonary allografts.

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