Cardiothoracic Surgery Experts Discuss Botched Aortic Valve Replacement

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on December 20, 2017

Cardithoracic Surgery Expert WitnessThis case involves a male patient who died shortly after undergoing a procedure to implant a prosthetic aortic valve. The patient in question had a past medical history significant for coronary artery disease as well as a general narrowing of the aorta. In light of the progressive nature of the patient’s condition, it was decided that he should undergo an aortic valve replacement as soon as possible. The patient underwent the procedure, which was marked by the need for siginficant blood transfusions but otherwise occored without incident. Shortly after the patient was brought to the surgical intensive care unit, his condition began to deteriorate. Despite heroic efforts to save the patient’s life, the man passed away in the surgical ICU. An autopsy discovered a number of troubeling findings, which appeared to be linked to an error in the position of the aortic valve prosthetic by the treating surgeon.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you routinely perform minimally invasive aortic valve replacement?
  • 2. Have you ever published or lectured on this subject?

Expert Witness Response E-011429

There is no question this death is due to the wrong position of the aortic prosthesis, which can occur in minimally-invasive aortic surgery with greater frequency than with traditional open-heart approaches. I routinely perform minimally invasive aortic valve replacement, and I have published and lectured on minimally-invasive cardiac surgery. I have never had a patient develop the outcome described. I have a very high volume cardiac surgery practice with a mix of pediatric and adult cardiac surgery. As such, I do perform a wide range of minimally invasive cardiac procedures including aortic valve replacement.


Expert Bio

This expert is the Chief of the Division of Cardiac, Thoracic & Vascular Surgery, as well as the director of congenital and pediatric cardiac surgery and a Calvin F. Barber Professor of Surgery at his institution. He is board certified in surgery, thoracic surgery and congenital heart surgery specializing in valve repair and reconstruction, neonatal cardiac surgery, hybrid procedures complex biventricular repairs, and adult congenital heart surgery.

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