Median sternotomy is the most common approach for repeat cardiac surgery despite the potential complications of cardiac injury. Right anterolateral thoracotomy has been recommended as an alternative for patients undergoing mitral valve replacement, but data supporting one approach over the other do not exist. To compare these procedures, the records of 43 patients who had had a previous median sternotomy and who underwent mitral valve replacement were reviewed. No statistically significant differences between patients undergoing repeat median sternotomy (33 patients) and those undergoing right anterolateral thoracotomy (10 patients) were demonstrable when compared for age, gender, New York Heart Association Functional Class, other diseased valves, urgency of operation, indication for operation, type of valve removed, type of valve implanted, length of postoperative hospitalization, length of operation, days of ventilatory support, length of intensive care unit stay, and survival (90% for thoracotomy group; 76% for median sternotomy group; p, NS). Significant differences between the two groups, favoring right anterolateral thoracotomy, were apparent when comparisons were made for length of perfusion (means, 94.8 min, thoracotomy group; 121.4 min, sternotomy group; p = .03), incidence of reexploration (0%, thoracotomy group; 13%, sternotomy group; p = .001), and blood transfusion (means, 5.3 units, thoracotomy group; 11.4 units, sternotomy group; p = .003). Right anterolateral thoracotomy is an effective alternative to repeat median sternotomy for replacement of the mitral valve in patients who have had a previous median sternotomy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine