Objective: Cardiac tumors are rare conditions. The vast majority of them are benign yet they may lead to serious complications. Complete surgical resection is the gold standard treatment and should be performed as soon as the diagnosis is made. Median sternotomy (MS) is the standard approach and provides excellent early outcomes and durable results at follow-up. However, minimally invasive (MI) is gaining popularity and its role in the treatment of cardiac tumors needs further clarification. Methods: A systematic literature review identified 12 candidate studies; of these, 11 met the meta-analysis criteria. We analyzed outcomes of 653 subjects (294 MI and 359 MS) with random effects modeling. Each study was assessed for heterogeneity. The primary endpoints were mortality at follow-up and tumor relapse. Secondary endpoints included relevant intra- and post-operative outcomes; tumor size was also considered. Results: There were no significant between-group differences in terms of late mortality (incidence rate ratio (IRR): MI vs. MS, 0.98 [95% CI: 0.25¬–3.82], p = 0.98). Few relapses and redo surgery were observed in both groups (IRR: 1.13[0.26-4.88], p=0.87);( IRR: 1.92 [95% CI: 0.39-9.53], p=0.42); MI was associated to prolonged operation time yet with no effects on clinical outcomes. Tumor size did not significantly differ between groups. Conclusions: Both MI and MS are associated with excellent early and late outcomes with acceptable survival rate and low incidence of recurrences. This study confirms that cardiac tumor may be approached safely and radically with a MI approach.
Spinal cord ischemia remains a dreadful complication after thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repair. The role of cerebrospinal fluid drain in such patients needs further clarifications. Tam and colleagues carried out an interesting decision analysis study that supports the routine use of the cerebrospinal fluid drain after thoracoabdominal aneurysm repair. They also demonstrated that the use of the cerebrospinal drain was safe. Here, we firstly discuss the paper's finding and methodology and, secondly, we try to simply explain what a decision analysis study is and, broadly, and how to construct a Markov model.