Domenico Paparella

and 4 more

Mitral valve repair is the procedure of choice to correct mitral regurgitation. However, some dangerous complications, correlated to the surgical technique, can occur in the operating theatre, at the end of the procedure. The most frequent is the systolic anterior motion. Due to a systolic dislocation of the anterior leaflet toward the outflow tract, it causes both obstruction of the outflow tract and mitral regurgitation. Often it is due to excess of catecholamines or to reduced filling of the left ventricle, but sometimes needs further surgical maneuvers, focused on moving posteriorly the coaptation line. It can be obtained by shortening the posterior leaflet or increasing the size of the ring or applying an Alfieri stitch to limit the movements of the anterior leaflet. Another complication, often underdiagnosed and potentially lethal, is the injury of the circumflex artery that happens at the level of the anterolateral commissure or P1 zone. Two mechanisms are involved. The first one is direct injury of the artery by a stitch (roughly 25% of the patients present a distance artery-annulus<3 mm). The second one the distortion of the artery, attracted toward the annulus by a misplaced stitch. The attraction causes kinking with stenosis of different degrees till functional occlusion. However, the artery has to be far from the annulus and the atrial tissue has to be stiff and resistant, as after an infective process, to move the CX toward the annulus without tearing. Positioning the stitches very close to the mitral leaflets in the dangerous area is the only prevention to the complication. The treatment in the operating theatre is partial or total removal/re-implantation of the annular sutures or coronary artery bypass grafting to the circumflex area. If the injury is demonstrated only after a coronary angiography, percutaneous revascularization can be attempted before further surgical treatment.

Antonio Calafiore

and 7 more

Michele Di Mauro

and 7 more

Mitral valve regurgitation (MR) is a common valvular disorder occurring in up to 10% of the general population. Mitral valve reconstructive strategies may address any of the components, annulus, leaflets and chords, involved in the valvular competence. The classical repair technique involves the resection of the prolapsing tissue. Chordal replacement was introduced already in the ’60, but in the mid ’80, some surgeons started to use expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) Gore-Tex sutures. In the last years, artificial chords have been exploited because of transcatheter techniques such as NeoChord DS 1000 (Neochord, USA) and Harpoon TSD-5. The first step is to achieve a good exposure of the papillary muscles that before approaching the implant of the artificial chords. Then, the chords are attached to the papillary muscle, with or without the use of supportive pledgets. The techniques to correctly implant artificial chords are many and might vary considerably from one center to another, but they can be summarized into three big families of suturing techniques: single, running or loop. Regardless of how to anchor to the mitral leaflet, the real challenge that many surgeons have taken on, giving rise to some very creative solutions, has been to establish an adequate length of the chords. It can be established basing on anatomically healthy chords, but it is important to bear in mind that surgeons work on the mitral valve when the heart is arrested in diastole, so this length could fail to replicate the required length in the full, beating heart. Hence, some surgeons suggested techniques to overcome this problem. Herein, we aimed to describe the current use of artificial chords in real world surgery, summarizing all the tips and tricks.

Michele Di Mauro

and 4 more

Choosing to perform mitral valve (MV) repair or replacement remains a hot and highly debated topic. The current guidelines seem to be conflicting in this specific field and the evidences at our disposal are scarce, only one small randomized trial and few larger retrospective studies. The meta-analysis by Gamal and coworkers tries to summarize the current evidences, concluding that MV replacement for the treatment of ischemic mitral regurgitation is at least as safe as repair and certainly offers a more stable result over time than the latter. Obviously, the implantation of a prosthesis, especially a mechanical one, brings with it a series of problems, such as anticoagulation and, above all, a possible lack of ventricular remodeling, especially if a chordal sparing replacement is not performed. It must be said, on the other hand, that isolated annuloplasty cannot act as a counterpart to replacement, because ischemic MR cannot be considered only an annular disease. Therefore, wanting to mimic the nature that, after an infarction, enacts a series of changes involving also the mitral leaflets and chordae, the surgeons are called to act also on these two entities and not only to downsize the annulus. In a nutshell, a procedure should not be opposed in a fundamentalist way to another one, but we must accept the concept of armamentarium where both procedures are present and tail on the single patient, and also on the surgeon’s expertise, the technique guaranteeing the best possible result.

Antonio Calafiore

and 6 more

Michele Di Mauro

and 3 more

The meta-analysis by He and collaborators [has the worth to cover, as much as possible, a gap of scientific evidence where conducting a randomized trial appears very complex for ethical and logistical reasons. The authors concluded that mitral valve repair (MVP) provide better pooled results, both early and late, with respect to mitral valve replacement (MVR). However, the superiority of MVP is driven by some single large cohort-studies where surgeons had wide experience in the field of MVP for IE. This finding is also confirmed by other studies. But if mitral repair produces such a better short- and long-term survival than replacement, why are there no clear indications from consensus and guidelines pushing surgeons toward the pursuit of a reconstructive procedure at almost any cost? We wonder but to repair or not to repair, is that really the question? The AATS consensus suggests to repair “whenever possible” but without providing more specific indications. If the two primary goals of surgery are total removal of infected tissues and reconstruction of cardiac morphology, including repair or replacement of the affected valve(s), probably MVP as to perform in case of less extensive tissue detriment by the infection. In more wide valve involvement, MVP may be the choice but only in very expert hands and in Centers with very large volume of valve repairing. This decision cannot therefore be the result of the choice of an individual but must derive from a careful multidisciplinary discussion to be held in an EndoTeam.