Over a 5 year period open valvotomy was performed on 13 patients under the age of one year with critical aortic stenosis. All 13 survived operation. There were two late deaths--one 38 days after operation, associated with an unrelated neurosurgical procedure and the other 2 years 6 months after when aortic root enlargement and replacement of the aortic valve were performed. During this period two other infants presented with aortic stenosis. One, who was very ill before transfer, died before operation could be performed. The second patient had a hypoplastic left ventricle with a small mitral valve ring and was, therefore, considered to be part of a different subgroup. All the surviving children have been followed up (median length of follow up 2 years and 11 months, range 7 months-5 years). Left ventricular function, in terms of percentage systolic wall thickening, was shown to be significantly impaired in all age groups. Peak diastolic thinning was abnormal in those children aged from 3 to 5. The aortic valve gradient, as assessed by peak instantaneous continuous wave Doppler, was less than 40 mm Hg in five patients and between 40 and 70 mm Hg in seven patients. One patient, with appreciable restenosis, has undergone successful percutaneous balloon dilatation of the aortic valve.
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