A minimally invasive approach to aortic valve surgery through a transverse incision ("pocket incision") at the right second intercostal space was examined. Sixteen patients with a mean age of 30 years underwent this approach. The third costal cartilage was either excised (n = 5) or dislocated (n = 11). The right internal mammary artery was preserved. Cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) was established with aortic-right atrial cannulation in all except the first case. Aortic valve replacements (AVR) were performed in 15 patients and one had aortic valve repair with concomitant ventricular septal defect closure. There was no mortality and no major complications. The aortic cross-clamp, CPB and operative times were 72 +/- 19 mins, 105 +/- 26 mins and 3 hrs 00 min +/- 29 mins respectively. The mean time to extubation was 5.7 +/- 4.0 hrs, ICU stay of 27 +/- 9 hrs and postoperative hospital stay of 5.1 +/- 1.2 days. Minimally invasive "pocket incision" aortic valve surgery is technically feasible and safe. It has the advantages of central cannulation for CPB, preservation of the internal mammary artery and avoiding sternotomy. This approach is cosmetically acceptable and allows rapid patient recovery.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.