Background and Aim: Several thoracic incisions have been described and different techniques used for cardiopulmonary bypass, myocardial protection and valve exposure in minimally invasive mitral valve surgery (MIMVS). Aim of this study is to compare the early outcomes of patients operated through a right trans-axillary (TAxA) approach with those achieved in conventional full sternotomy (FS) operations.
Methods: Prospectively collected data of patients who underwent mitral valve surgery between 2017 and 2022 at two academic centres were reviewed. Among them, 454 patients underwent MIMVS through TAxA access and 667 patients through FS (associated aortic and CABG procedures, infective endocarditis and urgent operations were excluded). A propensity match analysis was performed using seventeen preoperative and intraoperative variables.
Results: There was no difference in preoperative characteristics in matched populations. The rate of mitral valve repair was similar in both groups. Patients in TAxA group had a higher rate of repair using artificial chordae. Operative times were shorter in FS group but in patients operated in minimally invasive approach there was a trend towards decreasing CPB and cross-clamp time over the study period. Hospital mortality in TAxA group was 0.25%, postoperative cerebral stroke rate was 0.7%. TAxA mitral surgery was associated with shorter intubation time (p<0.001) and ICU stay (p<0.001). After a median hospital stay of 8 days, 30% of patients who had TAxA surgery were discharged home vs. 5% in the FS group (p<0.001).
Conclusions: TAxA approach is safe and effective. Compared to FS, it allows shorter mechanical ventilation, ICU and postoperative hospital stay with a higher rate of patients able to be discharged home without any further period of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation.