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The Ozaki Procedure for Aortic Valve Replacement

What Is the Ozaki Procedure?

The Ozaki technique is an innovative surgery to replace your diseased aortic valve using tissue from the sac around your heart (pericardium).

The aortic valve separates your heart's lower left chamber from your aorta. If the valve isn't working as it should, it can disrupt blood flow to your heart and through your body.

The goal of surgery is to replace the nonworking valve with a new one using your own tissue.

People with aortic valve disease who haven't had prior open-heart surgery are potential candidates for the Ozaki procedure.

Risks and Benefits of the Ozaki Technique

The Ozaki procedure has shown long-term benefits with few reported risks, compared to mechanical and animal tissue valve replacements.

People who have this surgery heal within 1 to 2 months. And unlike mechanical valve replacements, they typically don't need to take long-term blood thinners afterward.

The valve created from your own heart sac tissue instead of foreign animal tissue is much like a healthy valve.

Risks of the Ozaki technique are much like the risks of other valve replacements:

  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Infection
  • Irregular heart rhythms

Heart Valve Conditions We Treat with the Ozaki Procedure

The surgeons at UPMC Heart and Vascular can treat the following heart valve diseases with the Ozaki method:

  • Aortic valve stenosis: A condition in which your valve doesn't open wide enough to allow for proper blood flow.
  • Aortic valve regurgitation: A condition in which blood leaks backward from the aorta, causing it to flow in two directions.
  • Bicuspid aortic valve: An inborn condition in which the valve may not close correctly, causing blood to flow backward into the heart.

The Ozaki Technique for Aortic Valve Replacement — What to Expect

Before your heart valve surgery

If the Ozaki procedure is a treatment option for you, you'll have pre-op testing.

This includes noninvasive scans, like a CT scan of the chest, to:

  • Inspect the quality of your heart sac tissue (pericardium).
  • Look at the size of the heart and blood vessels.
  • Give you more details about the procedure, such as when to arrive and what to expect.

During your heart valve surgery

The Ozaki technique is an invasive surgery. Your care team will give you general anesthesia and put you on a heart-lung machine.

During the 3 to 4 hour procedure, your surgeon:

  • Makes a large cut in your chest and separates the breastbone.
  • Removes a piece of tissue from the sac around your heart and uses a chemical called glutaraldehyde to strengthen it.
  • Constructs a new aortic valve, removes the diseased valve, and replaces it with the newly built valve from your own tissue.

After your valve replacement:

  • You can expect to stay in the hospital for 5 to 7 days post-op.
  • It will take 1 to 2 months for the breastbone to heal and for you to fully recover. After that, you can resume life as normal.
  • You won't need to take blood thinners beyond a daily baby aspirin for 3 months after surgery.
  • You will have follow-up appointments with your doctor to check on the condition of the valve. 

Why Choose UPMC for Heart Care?

The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute is the only hospital in western Pa. to offer the Ozaki technique.

Led by Danny Chu, MD, director, Center for the Ozaki Procedure, our team of experts:

  • Has many years of training and experience with the Ozaki technique.
  • Has the highest volume of adult Ozaki procedures in the U.S.
  • Trains surgeons from across the world on this innovative technique on a routine basis.

To learn more, call us at 1-855-876-2484.