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Impact of Surgical Approach in Double Lung Transplantation: Median Sternotomy vs Clamshell Thoracotomy

Yasuhiro Shudo, Daniel Rinewalt, Bharathi Lingala, Flora Y Kim, Hao He, Jack H Boyd, Anson M Lee, William Hiesinger, Maria E Currie, John W MacArthur, Y Joseph Woo
Transplantation Proceedings 2020 January 3

BACKGROUND: Double lung transplantation (DLT) remains the gold standard for end-stage lung disease. Although DLT was historically performed via clamshell thoracotomy, recently the median sternotomy has emerged as a viable alternative. As the ideal surgical approach remains unclear, the aim of our study was to compare the short- and long-term outcomes of these 2 surgical approaches in DLT.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 192 consecutive adult patients who underwent primary DLT at our institution between 2012 and 2017 (sternotomy, n = 147; clamshell, n = 45). The impact of each surgical approach on post-transplant morbidity was investigated, and the overall survival probability analyses were performed.

RESULTS: There were no significant differences in recipients' baseline and donors' characteristics and bilateral allograft ischemic time. Freedom from primary graft dysfunction, acute rejection episodes, postoperative prolonged ventilator support, tracheostomy, postoperative stroke, and airway dehiscence were comparable between these 2 groups. The duration of cardiopulmonary bypass and operative time were significantly longer in the clamshell thoracotomy group. Postoperative extracorporeal membrane oxygenation usage tended to be more frequent in the clamshell thoracotomy group than the median sternotomy group, despite no statistical significance. Length of hospital and intensive care unit stay were not influenced by the type of incision. There was no significant difference in overall survival between these 2 procedure groups (P = .61, log-rank test).

CONCLUSIONS: The median sternotomy approach in DLT decreases operative time and more importantly leads to a shorter duration of cardiopulmonary bypass. The type of surgical approach did not show any statistically significant impact on adult DLT recipients' morbidity and survival.

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