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Patients with aortic root pathology may benefit from ‘valve-conservation’ surgery although application of this philosophy is limited by a lack of ‘standardized’ surgical techniques. A functional classification of aortic root and valvular abnormalities has been developed in 260 patients and correlated with the etiology of the pathologic process and the surgical procedure performed.Early outcome was assessed using hospital records and medium-term follow-up by cardiological review.From January 1995 until March 2001, 260 patients were operated on for aortic root pathology using valve-conserving surgical techniques. Hospital mortality was 2%; intra-operative echocardiography showed residual aortic regurgitation (Grade 1-2) in 11%, none in the remaining patients. Follow-up at a mean of 20 months (87% of patients) showed trivial or Grade 1 aortic regurgitation in 80%.Application of a simple functional classification for aortic root pathology and aortic valve disease allows the logical application of ‘valve-conserving’ surgical procedures with excellent early and medium-term results.