A thorough understanding of the aortic root structure and biomechanics is necessary when performing aortic valve-sparing procedures in patients with aortic root aneurysms. This study aimed to evaluate the amount of collagen and biomechanics at different levels and segments of the aortic root. Ten aortic roots from healthy pigs were excised including the aortic annulus, the sinuses of Valsalva, and the sinotubular junction (STJ). Specimens were further divided into three circumferential segments; left coronary (LC)-, right coronary (RC)-, and non-coronary (NC) sinus. Collagen was determined using hydroxyproline analysis and specimens were tested biomechanically for stress–strain relations. The annulus showed significantly larger average maximum stiffness (9.6 ± 4.5 N/mm) compared with the sinus (4.5 ± 2.0 N/mm) and STJ (4.8 ± 1.8 N/mm). The average collagen content was likewise higher in the annulus (4.0 ± 1.0 mg/ml) compared with the sinus (2.4 ± 0.6 mg/ml) and STJ (2.2 ± 0.5 mg/ml) for all three segments. The NC sinus segment exhibited a significantly larger maximum stiffness and stress under static conditions compared with the RC. These results suggest that the aortic root is heterogeneous in both structure and biomechanical properties and that it varies both in levels and segments of the aortic root. Future surgical approaches should consider enhanced strength parameters for specific areas of the aortic root to achieve the best results when performing aortic valve-sparing techniques. From this study, we conclude that the aortic annulus needs special attention to imitate normal physiologic properties during aortic valve-sparing surgery due to its higher maximum stiffness, stress, and load. Modified future surgical procedures could potentially prevent recurrent aneurysmal formation.
- Biomechanical aortic root characterization
- Collagen content
- Porcine aortic root