Concomitant presence of acute type A dissection and coactation of aorta is rare (1). Levoatriocardinal vein has shown to be associated with left sided hypoplastic lesions as well as with normal hearts (2, 3 ). However, concurrent presence of levoatriocardinal vein with acute type A dissection, severe aortic regurgitation and Coarctation of aortic isthmus was not described. We here described a case of 20 year male presented to emergency department with acute chest pain radiating to back. On evaluation, he was found to have acute type A dissection with dilated aortic root, severe aortic regurgitation, normal mitral valve, severe coarctation of aorta and levoatriocardinal vein. Patient was managed successfully with composite valve conduit replacement of ascending aorta with ascending aortic to descending aortic graft (16mm graft) with levoatriocardinal vein ligation.
Impact of COVID-19 on Coronary Artery Surgery: Hard lessons learnedAuthor: Luis Alberto O. Dallan1; Luiz Augusto F. Lisboa1; Luis Roberto P. Dallan1; Fabio B. Jatene1.1 Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Heart Institute from University of São Paulo Medical School (InCor), São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.Corresponding author: Luis Alberto O. Dallan, Dr. Enéas de Carvalho Aguiar, 44, Postal Code:05403-900. Pinheiros, São Paulo, SP – Brazil. Phone: +55 (11) 2661-5014. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.Since March 11th, 2020 when coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was declared a pandemia, hospitals had to be adapted quickly to increase the assistance capacity for a large part of the population that needed hospitalization for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection (1,2). Major disruptions on routine hospital services have occurred, with health professionals needed to assume functions beyond their usual routines and beds were adapted for intensive care due to the increased demand in the treatment of severe acute respiratory failure. Cardiovascular surgery was particularly affected by the coronavirus outbreak, since most of the elective surgeries were canceled and ICU beds, normally dedicated to the postoperative period of cardiac surgery, were transferred to patients with COVID-19 (3-5).In this context, Kalil and Col.(6) examine the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the number of procedures and death rate of CABG performed in 2020 in Brazil. They analyzed patients undergoing CABG in the public health system between 2008 and 2020. The data were collected from DATASUS, the data processing system of the Brazilian Ministry of Health, which collects information from every patient who needs in-hospital care and was admitted to a public hospital. Patients operated on the private system were not captured in the database and were excluded from the analysis. The results showed that in 2020, during the pandemic period, there was an average reduction of 25% in the number of CABG performed in Brazil, with the majority of procedures (75%) being performed in the south and southeast regions of the country. Regarding postoperative mortality, they observed an opposite effect with an increase in mortality from 5.6% to 6.3% during this pandemic period (6).This study has some limitations due to results extracted from an administrative database, good for epidemiological analysis such as gender, age, number and type of surgeries performed. Considering the reduction in surgical volume during the pandemic period, surgical status was analyzed altogether (whether elective, or urgent or emergency CABG), expressing a general view of the situation.Brazil was the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Latin America and other publications from Brazil showed different and more detailed results in relation to the pandemic period (7,8). One by Omar et al. (7) who used data from the São Paulo Registry of Cardiovascular Surgery (REPLICCAR), a multicenter registry, showed a 60% reduction in surgical CABG volume during COVID-19 pandemic. Regarding mortality, CABG surgeries had a 2.8-fold increased mortality risk (CI95%,1-7.6, P=0.041), patients who evolved with COVID-19 had a 11-fold increased mortality risk (CI95%, 2.2-54.9, P<0.003), rates of morbidities and readmission to the intensive care unit. (7), compared to 2019.In our own series at the Heart Institute University of Sao Paulo Medical School - Brazil, we observed a 65.8% reduction in cardiac surgery volume in 2020, during the pandemic period, and 2/3 of these were urgent or emergency procedures. Regarding the CABG in-hospital mortality, there was increased from 1.2% (2019) to 3.0% (2020) among elective procedures and from 4.5% (2019) para 18.2% (2020) among urgent or emergency procedures. Patients who had postoperative COVID-19, the in-hospital mortality rate was significantly higher (38.5%).Other publications reported a reduction in surgical volume of more than 70% during the peak disruption due to COVID-19 (9,10). Salenger et al. (11) reported that the volume of cardiac surgery fell to 54% of baseline after the restrictions were implemented and they also estimated a necessity of 2.5 times increase in numbers of procedures in post-COVID-19 era to restore balance to elective surgeries waiting lists. In the COVIDSurg collaborative, in a multi centric cohort of surgeries performed in 24 countries (235 hospitals), found that 75% of the procedures from 1 January and 31 March 2020, were non-elective and the mortality was 24%. Their cohort included 50 patients who underwent cardiac surgery and 30-day mortality was 34%, among the patients who had perioperative SARS-CoV-2 infection (12). Clinical studies have shown that in addition to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome, the coronavirus-2 infection also affects micro-circulation, has prothrombotic state and can cause myocardial injury, even in patients without coronary artery disease (13-14). This may be one of the reasons for the high mortality among patients who undergo surgery and present COVID-19 in the perioperative period, particularly in CABG surgery, where there is also a higher incidence of elderly, hypertensive and diabetic patients.While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to increase globally, measures to control SARS-CoV-2 infection and patient safety need to be established to maintain cardiovascular surgery, even if in small numbers. The consequences of delayed recognition of a patient with COVID-19 are significant. Protocols for triage, early diagnosis, isolation in specific areas and treatment of patients with COVID-19 with cardiovascular complications should be developed to minimize the risk of in-hospital transmission and greater safety for hospitalized patients without COVID-19 and healthcare professionals (15,16).A large number of operations were canceled or postponed due to interruptions caused by COVID-19. Coincidentally, our institution have reported an increased number of mechanical complications, that maybe related to decreased number of patients seeking for medical assistance (17).Studies conducted in the first months of the pandemic showed that if countries increased their normal surgical volume by 20%, it would take an average of 45 weeks to balance the backlog of operations resulting from the interruption of COVID-19 (18). Patients awaiting elective cardiac surgery need to be proactively managed, reprioritizing those with high-risk anatomy or whose clinical status is deteriorating. In this regard, governments must mitigate this heavy burden on patients by developing recovery plans and implementing strategies to safely restore surgical activity as soon as possible.
A Preliminary Argument for the Selective Use of the Robicsek WeaveJohn S. Ikonomidis MD, PhDDivision of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of North Carolina at Chapel HillWord Count: 886References: 4Address correspondence to:John S. Ikonomidis MD, PhDProfessor and Chief,Division of Cardiothoracic SurgeryUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill3034 Burnett Womack Building160 Dental Circle,Chapel Hill, NC27599e-mail: email@example.comTel: (919) 966-3381Proper execution of median sternotomy and its subsequent closure are critical to the success of cardiac surgical outcomes. It is essential that the sternum be divided directly in the midline, and table fractures must be avoided if at all possible by avoiding excessive spreading if the sternum for exposure of the heart. Multiple methods have been described regarding primary sternal closure technique, but the conventional technique of wire circlage, either linear or figure-of-eight, has endured and is also the most cost-effective. Sternal wound complications have an incidence of 0.8% to 1.5% patients, and this number rises to as high as 8% when bilateral internal mammary artery harvest is undertaken. Further established risk factors for deep sternal wound complications include breaches in sterility in the operating room, lengthy operations, re-exploration for bleeding, undrained retrosternal hematoma, incomplete wound closure, obesity, advanced age, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hospital acquired pneumonias, renal failure, requirement for dialysis, and prolonged mechanical ventilation. Mortality from sternal dehiscence and related complications ranges from 6% to 70%. It is generally felt that early treatment reduces mortality.1Deep sternal wound complications and dehiscence were once thought to be highly feared and challenging complications of cardiac surgery. Modern primary closure techniques, tissue flap coverage options, and negative pressure wound therapy have made these complications more manageable. Nevertheless, it behooves surgeons to avoid this complication due to its considerable negative clinical impact.There are many methods currently available for reconstruction of the sternum after its dehiscence, the most common of which is the sternal weave first described by Robicsek and colleagues in 1977.2 This technique is often used to reinforce the sternum with primary sternal closure in instances where the sternotomy was off the midline leaving a thin weak section of sternum on one side or where some fracturing has occurred, but has also been used as a first line for sternal reconstruction after its dehiscence from primary closure. Data are not available regarding the overall success rate of reinforcement using the Robicsek weave, but at least one multicenter, randomized controlled trial showed that in patients with an increased risk for sternal instability and wound infection after cardiac surgery, sternal reinforcement using the Robicsek technique prior to primary sternal closure did not reduce dehiscence rate.3In addition to the above, antecedent sternal weaving weave may complicate further attempts at sternal closure should dehiscence recur. In this issue of the Journal of Cardiac Surgery,4Seyrek et al. conducted a retrospective review of patients at a single institution with noninfectious sternal dehiscence (NISD) after median sternotomy who received thermoreactive nitinol clips (TRNC) for sternal closure. The authors studied 34 cases who received TRNC treatment between December 2009 and January 2020 out of 283 patients with NISD who underwent sternal refixation. These cases were divided into two groups: patients who had a previously failed Robicsek procedure before TRNC treatment (group A, n=11) and patients who had been directly referred to TRCN treatment (group B, n= 23). The results showed that the postoperative complication rate and length of hospital stay was significantly higher with use of the Robicsek weave. Further, operative time was significantly shorter and blood loss was significantly lower in patients referred for sternal refixation without having first undergone a Robicsek weave.Part of the reason for the above results may lie with the surgical requirements for performance of the Robicsek weave. Substernal and lateral dissection is required to define the margins of the sternum before placing the weave. This increases the technical difficulty of the reclosure operation and puts the patient at risk for inadvertent injury to the heart, great vessels, and other mediastinal structures. This dissection may also compromise blood flow to the sternal half. Further, intercostal arteries may be squeezed by weave as it runs anteriorly and posteriorly around the ribs, which may occlude blood supply to the sternum. This could worsen pre-existing ischemia, which would delay sternal healing, promote bacterial colonization, and cause bone necrosis and additional sternal fragmentation, thus complicating any additional closure attempts.Use of TRNC may represent an advance in sternal reconstruction therapy due to the simplicity of use and lack of requirement for a complex mediastinal dissection prior to application. The authors contend that a previously failed Robicsek procedure caused significantly higher morbidity, additional operative risk and lower success rate in later TRNC treatment of high-risk cases and hence speculate that patients at high risk for sternal separation should proceed directly to TRNC treatment. In the light of the above study, this approach seems reasonable, but a prospective trial should be considered to provide the definitive answer.
Aims：This study aimed to investigate the safety, feasibility and availability of perimembranous ventricular septal defect (PmVSD) closure via a left parasternal ultra-minimal trans intercostal incision in children. Methods and results：From January 2015 to January 2019, 131 children with restrictive PmVSDs were enrolled in this study and successfully done in 126 patients (96.18%). PmVSDs were occluded via an ultra-minimal trans intercostal incision (≤1 cm), and the entire occlusive process was guided and monitored by TEE. A pericardium hanging technique was employed without sternal incision. PmVSDs were closed through a short delivery sheath assembled using a concentric occluder device. All patients were followed up for a perid ranging from18 months to 24 months. Thirteen patients with PmVSD had aneurysm of membranous septum (AMS). Multistream (more than or equal to 2) PmVSDs with AMS were found in eleven cases. After the operation, mild residual shunt beside the amplatzer occluder in one patient was found and had self-healing result during the 5-month follow-up period. Five patients transferred to ventricular septal defect repair operation under direct visualization with a cardiopulmonary bypass. One reason was ventricular fibrillation when guide wire passed the PmVSD, another was device dislocation, and others were the guide wire cannot pass through the PmVSD. Conclusions：PmVSDs closure using a concentric occluder via a left parasternal ultra-minimal trans intercostal incision under TEE guidance is feasible, safe, and effective in children. This approach can be considered as an alternative treatment to open-heart surgery for restrictive PmVSDs.
Background Randomised trials show high long-term patency for no-touch saphenous vein grafts in coronary artery bypass grafting. The patency rate in off-pump coronary bypass surgery for these grafts has not been investigated. Our centre participated in the CORONARY randomized trial, NCT00463294. This is a sub-study aimed to assess the patency of no-touch saphenous veins in on- versus off-pump coronary bypass surgery at five-year follow-up. Methods Fifty-six patients were included. Forty of 49 patients, alive at five years, participated in this follow-up. There were 21 and 19 patients in the on- and off-pump groups respectively. No-touch saphenous veins were used to bypass all targets and in some cases the left anterior descending artery. Graft patency according to distal anastomosis was evaluated with computed tomography angiography. Results The five-year patency rate was 123/139 (88.5%). The patency for the no-touch vein grafts was 57/64 (89.1%) in the on-pump vs 37/45 (82.2%) in the off-pump group. All left internal thoracic arteries except for one, 29/30 (96.6%), were patent. All vein grafts used to bypass the left anterior descending and the diagonal arteries were patent 32/32. The lowest patency rate for the saphenous veins was to the right coronary territory, particularly in off-pump surgery (80.0% vs 62.5% for the on- respective off-pump groups). Conclusions Comparable five-year patency for the no-touch saphenous veins and the left internal thoracic arteries to the left anterior descending territory in both on- and off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting. Graft patency in off-pump CABG is lower to the right coronary artery.
Purpose: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a refractory treatment for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) due to influenza and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2, also referred to as COVID-19). We conducted this study to compare the outcomes of influenza patients treated with veno-venous-ECMO (VV-ECMO) to COVID-19 patients treated with VV-ECMO, during the first wave of COVID-19. Materials and Methods: Patients in our institution with ARDS due to COVID-19 or influenza who were placed on ECMO between August 1, 2010 and September 15, 2020 were included in this comparative, retrospective study. To improve homogeneity, only VV -ECMO patients were analyzed. The clinical characteristics and outcomes were extracted and analyzed. Results: 28 COVID-19 patients and 17 influenza patients were identified and included. ECMO survival rates were 68% (19/28) in COVID-19 patients and 94% (16/17) in influenza patients (p=0.04). 30-day survival rates after ECMO decannulation were 54% (15/28) in COVID-19 patients and 76% (13/17) in influenza patients (p=0.13). COVID-19 patients spent a longer time on ECMO compared to flu patients (21 days vs. 12 days, p=0.025), and more COVID-19 patients (26/28 vs. 2/17) were on immunomodulatory therapy prior to ECMO initiation (p<0.001). COVID-19 patients had higher rates of new infections during ECMO (50% vs. 18%, p=0.03) and bacterial pneumonia (36% vs 6%, p=0.024). Conclusions: COVID-19 patients who were treated in our institution with VV-ECMO had statistically lower ECMO survival rates than influenza patients. It is possible that COVID-19 immunomodulation therapies may increase the risk of other superimposed infections.
The authors successfully utilize the bidirectional Glenn procedure to palliate late presenting, cyanotic patients with complex congenital heart disease. Additional information regarding preoperative diagnostic testing would be helpful. There is little information regarding patient screening and selection for the procedure. The short term results are satisfactory, however, mid-term and longer follow-up data is lacking. The treatment algorithm suggested by the report might be useful in other settings.
The authors report an exceptionally rare patient with findings of a bicuspid aortic valve in conjunction with a mature cystic teratoma in a middle-aged male presenting for symptomatic chest pain. Surgical resection and valve replacement were performed, confirming the rare cardiac tumor. While certainly interesting, this case highlights the importance of maintaining a broad differential diagnosis and the appropriate work-up, treatment and considerations for such rare pathology.
Meticulous transfer of coronary arteries is of crucial importance in transposition of great arteries and determines the success of the switch procedure. This report describes a coronary anatomy consisting of four separate ostia from the two facing sinuses in a six-month-old infant presenting with d-transposition of great arteries and ventricular septal defect. Being a rare coronary arterial pattern not described in previous coding systems, the surgeon would do well to be aware of this possibility while performing the switch procedure.
A 44‑year‑old male patient was referred to our department with unremarkable physical examination and laboratory data due to a mass which was incidentally found in the right atrial during a routine examination.Transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography revealed a 46×30 mm, well-delimited, non-mobile mass in the superior portion of the right atrium. Besides the intracardiac mass, another low density was detected in adjacent pericardial cavity at cardiac computed tomography ;he extracardiac mass appeared to be caused by invasive growth from the intracardiac mass.An operation was performed through right anterolateral minithoracotomy with the patient under hypothermic cardiopulmonary bypass. During operation, it was found that the surface of the right atrium was covered by an adipose mass (30×40 mm; Fig. 2A). Intracardiac mass also showed yellow adipose tissue (40×50 mm; Fig. 2B). Both parts of the mass infiltrated the myocardium. The mass was resected completely; and right atrium was reconstructed by using bovine pericardium pad. After the operation, the pathology confirmed the both intracardiac and extracardiac tissues as lipoma; transthoracic echocardiogram showed the atrial mass was removed completely and the left ventricular ejection fraction was normal . The patient’s postoperative course was uneventful and he was discharged home after 7 days.
Background Use of the Frozen Elephant Trunk (FET) device to manage complex surgical pathologies of the aorta (e.g. acute Type A aortic dissection) has gained popularity since its introduction in the early 2000s. Though the distal anastomosis was traditionally performed at Zone 3 (Z-3-FET), preference gradually shifted towards Zone 2 (Z-2-FET) in favour of improved surgical access and outcomes. This review seeks to elucidate whether proximalisation of arch repair to Zone 0 (Z-0-FET) would further improve postoperative outcomes. Methods We performed a review of available literature to evaluate the comparative efficacies of Z-2-FET versus Z-0-FET, in terms of surgical technique, clinical outcomes, and incidence of adverse events. Results Z-0-FET seems to be associated with a more accessible surgical approach, and shorter cardiopulmonary bypass, antegrade cerebral perfusion, and cardioplegia durations than Z-2-FET. Further, Z-0-FET is could potentially be associated with a lower incidence of neurological, renal, and recurrent laryngeal nerve injury, as well as mortality and reintervention rates than Z-2-FET. This said, Z-0-FET is itself associated with significant challenges, and efficacy in terms of postoperative true lumen integrity and false lumen thrombosis is mixed. Conclusion Current literature seems to suggest that Z-0-FET procedures are more straightforward and associated with lower rates of certain adverse events, however, the majority of data reviewed is retrospective. This review therefore recommends prospective research into the comparative strengths and limitations of Z-0-FET and Z-2-FET to better substantiate whether proximalisation of arch repair represents a concept, or a true challenge to advance surgical intervention for arch pathologies.
Title: Cardiac surgery and healthcare quality: Is the right question being asked?Authors : Abdullah Nasif, MD1/ Saqib Masroor, MD1 1Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toledo Medical Center Toledo, OH USAManuscript: Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Surgery After Previous Sternotomy: A Propensity-Matched Analysis.Disclosure : NoneWord Count : 1381Even though by 2003, Casselman (and many others) had concluded that totally endoscopic mitral valve repair can be performed safely with excellent results and a high degree of patient satisfaction1, less than a quarter of all isolated mitral valve procedures were performed using minimally invasive approach (MIS) by 20162. Conventional sternotomy (ST) remains the approach of choice in the majority of cardiac surgery centers. Since 2011, partial sternotomy has fallen out of favor and right mini thoracotomy (RMT) approach has been the major MIS approach (with or without robotics) for both primary as well as re-operative mitral valve surgery. At experienced centers, the indications for MIS surgery have been expanded to include complex pathologies, reoperative surgery, endocarditis, as well as a hybrid open approach for severely calcified mitral annuli using an open deployment of transcatheter aortic valve3-5.One reason for the slow adoption of MIS has been the lack of randomized prospective trials comparing the conventional sternotomy approach with MIS. Most literature supporting the use of MIS has consisted of retrospective review of series of individual surgeons or centers, which have shown a shorter length of stay, reduced need for transfusions and a quicker recovery2,3. Since these reports came from centers with extensive experience and the fact that initial cohorts of patients undergoing MIS were relatively lower risk patients, these retrospective observational studies were not as convincing in their conclusions, because the two groups of patients were not similar. Only a few propensity-matched analyses comparing MIS vs sternotomy have so far been reported in patients undergoing primary surgery4-6.For re-operative mitral valve surgery, there has been one propensity-matched comparison of 42 pairs of patients undergoing right mini-thoracotomy MIS vs sternotomy from China7. MIS patients had lower transfusions, shorter length of stay and lower costs, while having similar mortality. However, the study had a mean length of stay of 22 days vs 16 days and mortality of 11% vs 7 % for sternotomy and MIS patients, respectively and thus the results cannot be reliably generalized.In this issue of the Journal , Hamandi et al8, reviewed 305 isolated MV reoperations that were performed in a single institution between 2007-2018. Patients who underwent MIS MV reoperation totaled 199, while sternotomy operations were 106. The primary endpoints were operative mortality and 1-year survival with operative complications and length of stay being secondary endpoints. Median age of patients was 69 years with an equal gender distribution. The team performed propensity-matched analysis to compare the two groups.There were 88 well-balanced matched pairs. There was no statistically significant difference in mortality among the matched groups at 30 days (3.4% vs 8.0%, p=0.19) or at 1-year (15.9% vs. 16.5%, p=0.9). Comparing long-term survival rates, no statistically significant difference was found up to 5 years postoperatively. Also, the incidence of post-operative complications such as atrial fibrillation, valve dysfunction or renal failure didn’t show any statistically significant difference. However, intraoperative blood utilization was significantly lower among the MIS cohort (p<0.01). Patient satisfaction was not evaluated as is not possible in a retrospective analysis. Neither was readmission rates and other similar measures which would be important in a value-based care system.The 30-day mortality difference (3.4% vs 8%), while not statistically significant, tended to be lower in MIS patients. 4 patients in the MIS group converted to sternotomy due to adhesions. It is not clear from the manuscript, if the mortality in the MIS group was in some way related to the conversions or not. But based on our experience over the years and from the analysis of this manuscript, we recommend an early conversion to sternotomy if one is dealing with difficult adhesions, rather than risking a long tedious operation and possibly emergently converting to sternotomy. It is also important to note that 75% of patients were discharged home, however readmission rate is unknown. With the advent of value-based purchasing, readmission rates should also be looked at. Overall, the authors should be congratulated on their excellent management of this subset of patients and for taking the time share their experience with us.Propensity score matching is commonly used in evaluation research to estimate average treatment effects.9 The main benefit in using this statistical method is to remove confounding bias from observational cohorts. It attempts to reduce the effects of confounders by matching already treated subjects with control subjects who exhibit a similar propensity for treatment based on preexisting covariates that influence treatment selection. However, it is limited in that it requires the removal of data and works primarily on binary treatments. In this study, by including standardized mean difference (SMD), the authors were able to balance the covariates in this propensity-matched analysis.Other than being a single-center retrospective study, this study suffered from other short-comings of a propensity match study, such as the loss of study power due to the decreased sample size after performing propensity matching. Also, “the surgeon effect” was noted. Since the MIS MV reoperative surgeries were performed by the same surgeons who performed the sternotomy cases, the results may not be generalizable.The question being addressed by this manuscript (and by most other similar comparisons of one therapy vs another) is, “Is MIS better than sternotomy?”Unfortunately, that question cannot be satisfactorily addressed with this or similar studies. Healthcare quality has evolved since its inception in 1999 with the Institute of Medicine report, titled “To Err is human”. In the subsequent report “Crossing the Quality Chasm”11, a high-quality care is defined as beingsafe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient and equitable. Our healthcare delivery system is changing, and so should our research methodologies. Our analyses should go deeper than scratching the surface with mortality and morbidity data. Most studies, including this one by Hamandi et al, do not even address “effectiveness” adequately in the context of healthcare quality. Having similar mortality and morbidity means that both approaches are equally ‘safe ’. We have little information about other measures of safety, such as readmissions, central line associated blood borne infections. We have not evaluated whether the two approaches were patient centered (Did the patient participate in choosing the approach?), efficient (Cost of care) or equitable.As cardiac surgeons dealing with life and death from up close, we are not used to viewing healthcare from the rather distant 6-pronged quality viewpoint mentioned above. But this is important for a very important reason which I explain below.Individual surgeons and patients may not have the power to bring about a meaningful change in the way we do business everyday. But just like state pension funds pressured oil companies into facing climate change10, big stakeholders like insurance companies and other payers may be able to convince the cardiac surgeons to face the future. For that to happen, quality metrics such as readmission rates, cost of care and patient satisfaction must be looked at and reported, because that is how these stakeholders assess quality. According to some studies7 MIS approach is better in terms of cost and patient satisfaction. Such comprehensive analyses of quality will go a long way in answering a slightly different question than the one posed earlier; “Does MIS offer better quality than sternotomy?”If we want to influence healthcare delivery and have a passion for quality, then our research methodology must reflect the high standards, that we have set for our clinical work. We should also develop new measures of quality besides morbidity and mortality. We have to look at those metrics that have traditionally been ignored by surgeons, but are important for the payers and the hospitals that rely on these payers for their success. As far a minimally invasive vs sternotomy approach is concerned, that question is not going to last for long. Not because one side would have won or the other lost, but because for those that have not yet boarded the train of minimally invasive mitral valve surgery, that train may have already left the station, moving at full speed ahead towards the “percutaneous station”. It is not a matter of if , but when , sternotomy would not be the standard of care for mitral valve surgery. Today’s vascular surgeons save open repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm for a very small subset of patients. There is no reason to believe that tomorrow’s mitral valve surgeons will consider open sternotomy any differently for mitral valve surgery.
Total arch repair (TAR) has become a mainstay of the surgical management of complex pathologies of the ascending aorta and aortic arch, in particular acute Type A aortic dissections (ATAAD). TAR with devices such as the frozen elephant trunk (FET) have been shown to dramatically improve clinical outcomes in such cases. However, TAR with FET remains an immensely challenging procedure, and the risk of debilitating postoperative complications remains high. Spinal cord ischaemia (SCI) and stroke are two particularly tragic adverse outcomes of TAR with FET; it is unsurprising therefore that much research has been done to determine both the underlying cause thereof, and strategies to mitigate this risk. Mousavizadeh and colleagues produced a fascinating systematic review and meta-analysis investigating the relationship between the duration of hypothermic circulatory arrest (HCA) and the risk of developing complications including SCI and stroke. Their data seem to suggest HCA duration is a key factor in causing SCI and stroke following TAR with FET for ATAAD. However, other factors such as stent sizing and landing zone also contribute. Further prospective research into this relationship is recommended to fully elucidate what truly is to blame for these postoperative neurological complications.