New research has suggested that patients requiring a new aortic valve in the heart are more likely to accept it and lead a better quality of life if surgeons use a valve from their own pulmonary artery.

Medical procedure for valve change often uses an aortic valve from a dead donor while the latest study reveals that using a valve from the patient's own pulmonary artery not only enhances the patient's survival chances but also improves post-operative existence.

While the aortic valve connects the left ventricle with the aorta, the pulmonary valve connects the heart to the pulmonary artery. While the aorta is the body's main artery, the pulmonary artery carries blood from the heart to the lungs.

As part of the study, 108 patients with malfunctioning aortic valve had surgery performed on them whereby the aortic valve was replaced by the pulmonary valve via autograft. Thereafter, their pulmonary valve was replaced by one from a dead donor.

Another group of patients had their aortic valves replaced in the routine manner with the same part from a dead donor using the homograft technique.

Researchers waited ten years before going back to check up on all the patients and found that four from the autograft group and 15 in the homograft group had died. They concluded that patients from the homograft group were four times more likely to die compared to the other group.

The study report published in the latest issue of The Lancet, says that patients in the autograft group were less likely to need further surgery and reported a better quality of life.

Sir Magdi Yacoub of the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust in London wrote in the report that the study proves the hypothesis that a living valve implanted in the aortic position leads to improved clinical outcomes in patients.