Mechanical or bioprosthetic aortic valve replacement has traditionally been the treatment of choice for patients with aortic valve insufficiency. However, prosthetic valve replacement has significant limitations being associated with a substantial cumulative risk of thromboembolism, anticoagulation-related hemorrhage, prosthetic valve endocarditis, and structural or non-structural valve dysfunction requiring reoperation. In this setting, aortic valve repair, by avoiding the long-term risks associated with prosthetic valve implantation, has emerged as a valid alternative treatment to conventional aortic valve replacement. In the last decade, improvements in the understanding of the mechanisms of valve disease, development of a classification system for aortic insufficiency and advances in surgical procedures have allowed for more effective and reproducible techniques for aortic valve repair. The aim of the present review is to assess the principles, the surgical techniques, and the role of echocardiographic imaging in the setting of aortic valve repair surgery.
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