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Infirmary Health’s Heart & Vascular Institute only community-based program in the Gulf Coast region to perform pulmonary autograft procedure for heart valve replacement

Two of Infirmary Health’s cardiothoracic surgeons, Dr. Kareem Bedeir and Dr. Peter Pluscht III, are the only surgeons along the Gulf Coast performing pulmonary artery autograft replacement of the aortic valve. Commonly known as the “Ross Procedure,” this is a unique alternative to traditional valve replacement operations. The physicians perform the life-changing procedure at Mobile Infirmary and Thomas Hospital. Infirmary Health’s Heart & Vascular Institute is currently the only community-based program in the region to offer this unique alternative to traditional valve replacement surgery.

Dr. Pluscht has performed the Ross Procedure for more than 20 years. He shares, “The Ross Procedure was designed in 1967 as an alternative to valve replacement surgery and to avoid long-term anticoagulation [blood thinners], all while maintaining exceptional hemodynamics [blood flow]. The procedure substantially prolongs the time interval before a second operation-if needed-is done. Now, 50 years later, there is enough world data to determine that the Ross Procedure is an ideal alternative to valve replacement for anyone under the age of 65 and in good health.”

Carter Morgan was born with aortic stenosis. During a normal check-up at age 20, he received the news that he needed immediate intervention to repair his heart. Carter was an ideal candidate for the pulmonary artery autograft replacement of the aortic valve, known as the “Ross Procedure." Watch Carter's story.

Because of the Ross Procedure’s need for an experienced surgical team and skilled ancillary support from anesthesia, echocardiography and intensive care personnel, it is not widely available across the US. Additionally, the procedure has been around for 50+ years, and relies on availability of human donor valves. Thanks to recent interest, the availability of these valves has increased.

What is the Ross Procedure?

In patients with aortic valve pathology, where the valve is not salvageable, the aortic valve is replaced with the patient’s own pulmonic valve [autograft]. Then, the patient’s pulmonic valve is replaced with a homograft [human cadaver] pulmonic valve.

What are the benefits?

A major benefit to the Ross Procedure is the increased survival rate compared to other valve replacement operations. Additionally, this procedure uses human tissues valves, which lower risk for infection and the need for reoperation compared to other materials used in traditional valve replacement surgery. Patients will benefit from improved blood flow to the body and as a result, the ability to live an active lifestyle. Those who have the surgery can avoid life-long blood thinners, and female patients have the opportunity to have children, which is not an option while taking traditional blood thinners. Finally, the downtime for the procedure can be minimal, depending on the health and other co-morbidities of the patient.

If you think you might be a candidate for the Ross Procedure, schedule an appointment today by calling 251-471-3544 or visit