JOURNAL ARTICLE
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[Right subaxillary and posterolateral thoracotomy for open repair of congenital heart defects].

Orvosi Hetilap 2005 Februrary 14
OBJECTIVE: Low-risk cardiac surgery approaches zero morbidity/mortality, therefore, cosmetic issues append. Right thoracotomy has been advocated as cosmetically attractive alternative to median sternotomy. Posterolateral thoracotomy involves chest wall musculature division that contributes to postoperative pain/morbidity; access to the heart may be difficult. Longitudinal subaxillary incision and muscle-sparing thoracotomy can overcome these disadvantages and provide better visibility.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Between April 2000 and April 2004 the authors performed open-heart repair from right thoracotomy in 161 patients. Diagnoses comprised perioval and sinus venosus ASDs (137), VSD (11), incomplete/intermediate AVD (8), miscellaneae (5). According to both patients' and surgeon's preference a longitudinal midaxillary incision and muscle-sparing lateral thoracotomy was utilised in 98 cases. Intracardiac repair was performed by extracorporal circulation, usual cannnulation, cardioplegia. Data of 79 ASD closures via midline sternotomy were used as controls.

RESULTS: Sternotomy and thoracotomy groups did not differ in demographic characteristics albeit thoracotomies exhibited wider age and weight range. The skin incision could be easily stretched up by 60% providing excellent visibility/access. No mortality occurred. Phrenic nerve palsies (2), transient tetraparesis (1) fully recovered. A mitral valve replacement was necessary for valve pathology unrelated to access. No breast and/or upper limb vascular/neurologic problems were encountered.

CONCLUSIONS: Right subaxillary muscle-sparing thoracotomy offers safe option for open-heart repair of selected anomalies. Despite the shorter skin incision subaxillary approach provides better visibility than conventional thoracotomy as mediastinal organs are closer to the operator. Intermediate cosmetic result are appealing. With no muscles divided less postoperative pain is anticipated. The authors recommend to expand the spectrum of anomalies repaired via this approach.

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