“How Many Ross Procedures Each Year?” Asks Evelyn

I just received a question about the Ross Procedure for aortic valve replacement from Evelyn.

She writes, “Adam – The stenosis in my aortic valve is getting worse and I’m starting to feel the symptoms. My valve has been upgraded to severe stenosis from moderate status and it looks like surgery is in my future. I’m investigating my options and considering the Ross Procedure. By chance, do you know how many Ross Procedures are performed each year? Thanks, Evelyn”

Evelyn raises a great question. In fact, when I first learned of the Ross Procedure, as an alternative to traditional approaches, I thought to myself, “Sound goods. But, what is the surgical success rate of the Ross Procedure? And… How many of those procedures have been done?”

In talking with Dr. Vaughn Starnes (my surgeon), Dr. Donald Ross (the inventor of the procedure) and doing my own research, I learned that the Ross Procedure is definitely NOT performed as frequently as bioprosthetic and mechanical valve replacements. In fact, several surgeons do not favor the procedure as it requires a double valve replacement – the pulmonary valve is replaced with a homograft.

However, the more I learned about the Ross Procedure, its patient advantages, the surgical statistics of the Ross Procedure and Dr. Starnes’ familiarity with the procedure (he had performed over 200 Ross Procedures at the time), this option made sense for me. Three years later… I’m doing great.

Now, specific to Evelyn’s question…

I did some digging on the topic and learned very little as to “How Many Ross Procedures occur annually?” Then, I came across a recent reference from Cryolife, a heart valve manufacturer, which suggests that 1,500 Ross Procedures are performed annually on a global basis.

That number seems very appropriate if you do a quick estimate… Consider that the American Heart Association suggests that 18,000 aortic valve replacements were performed in the United States during 2007. Then, estimate what percent of those surgeries are Ross Procedures. My gut tells me it’s a very low percentage. Maybe it’s 5%. So, if you do the math, about 1,000 Ross Procedures are performed each year in the United States. Then, to account for the rest of the world, I would estimate another 500. Again, this is just a rough, quick estimate.

Well, I hope that helps Evelyn and you learn more about the number of Ross Procedures performed each year.

Keep on tickin!

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.

To learn how Adam has helped millions of people with heart valve disease, watch Adam's video, subscribe to his free newsletter, or visit his Facebook, or Twitter pages.

  • glen mccabe

    hey whats up adam had ross in march 2009 plus bypass and anurysm repair by dr stelzer at mt sinai feel great but having palputations from time to time dont want to be a cry baby but feel a couple of bleeps from time to time also had a totle shoulder replacement done at hss nyc 6 30 2010 im sure u can apreciate that

  • Marc dantonio

    Adam,
    I had the Ross procedure done in 1993. That is 18 years ago. My last cardia check still shows almost NO evidence of surgery in the heart. The scar on my chest is the giveaway. I have zero limits, zero meds, and have in fact been quite able to get back to karate and weight lifting with absolutely no limits.
    My surgery (I am from CT) was actually done in Oklahoma City. I was the 98th person in the US to have it done. I could never have imagined the benefits. Anyone facing this surgery should press for the Ross Procedure if they qualify. My original hospital was Yale New Haven associated of course with prestigious Yale University. My doctor was the head of cardiology, Larry Cohen. I asked him about the Ross Procedure and he responded as typical, with what I call arrogance, and said “we don’t do that here”… So I demanded my records on the spot, told him I was firing him as my doctor, and went to Hartford Hospital who set up the procedure quickly and with the expert in Oklahoma who could do it. So a week later I was there. Hartford Hospital was even able to get my insurance to cover it because at the time they could not perform this recommended procedure so I was being sent to where they DID do it.
    To this day I have no limits or ill effects. The aeortic valve is very slighty inefficient but it was from day one, and the Pulmonic valve is fine even for being a frozen cadaver valve.
    Impressive procedure… It gave life back to me in my early 30s and I am 51 now and still going strong!

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