Beating-heart mitral valve surgery: preliminary model and methodology

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2002 Jun;123(6):1141-6. doi: 10.1067/mtc.2002.121680.


Objective: It is our hypothesis that image-guided mitral valve repair can be performed on the beating heart without cardiopulmonary bypass. As a first phase, we tested the feasibility of suturing the anterior and posterior mitral valve leaflets under image guidance.

Methods: In a water bath model, imaging approaches and suturing techniques were developed. Then, in 6 pigs, the left atrium was cannulated with a custom-made 15-mm valved port through a left thoracotomy. Atrial pressure was elevated by shunting of arterial blood to minimize air induction. A multiplane transesophageal echocardiographic probe was evaluated in the intraesophageal and epicardial positions. With a commercial endoscopic suturing device, sutures were placed through the anterior and posterior mitral leaflets under echocardiographic guidance. The animals were killed, and suture accuracy was evaluated by measuring the distance from the intended target areas on the anterior and posterior mitral leaflets. Air induction was monitored by echocardiography and graded as minimal to severe.

Results: There were no cases of hemodynamic instability or significant arrhythmia. The most effective imaging plane was a short-axis view that used the transesophageal echocardiographic probe epicardially at the heart base. Air induction was minimal in 2 animals, mild in 3, and moderate in 1. Sutures were successfully placed 9 of 12 times (mean error 0.8 +/- 0.5 cm).

Conclusions: With these methods, off-pump, image-guided suturing of the beating-heart mitral valve was possible. This model may be a useful starting point for developing off-pump mitral valve repair procedures.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endoscopy*
  • Heart Septal Defects, Atrial / surgery
  • Heart Valve Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Valve Diseases / surgery*
  • Mitral Valve / diagnostic imaging
  • Mitral Valve / surgery*
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted*
  • Suture Techniques*
  • Swine
  • Ultrasonography