Background: Surgical closure of secundum atrial septal defect (ASD) is a standard procedure associated with very low mortality and morbidity. We evaluated outcomes in the era of catheter-based interventional closure and minimally invasive techniques.
Methods: From May 1996, February 2002, 177 patients with a body weight of more than 30 kg underwent surgical ASD closure. A right lateral minithoracotomy (LMT) was used in 122 patients and a conventional approach, in 55. Diagnoses included secundum ASD in 106 patients in the LMT group and 40 in the conventional group, sinus venosus ASD in 13 patients in each group, and status post interventional closure in 3 and 2 patients, respectively. Mean age was 37 +/- 17 years in the LMT group and 43 +/- 20 years, in the conventional group and mean body weight was 66 +/- 17 kg and 70 +/- 16 kg, respectively. In the LMT group, femoral cannulation was performed for cardiopulmonary bypass.
Results: Direct ASD closure was carried out in 67.2% of patients in the LMT group and 58.2% of those in the conventional group. The remaining patients had pericardial patch closure. There was one death: A patient in the conventional group who required explantation of an Amplatzer device because of infection died postoperatively. Average stay in the intensive care unit was 1.2 +/- 0.5 days. Two patients required reoperation for residual ASD after direct closure; 1 sustained a temporary neurological deficit that resolved completely. On postoperative echocardiography, a minimal residual shunt was seen in only 3 patients. All patients were in good clinical condition with improved functional status at discharge from the hospital.
Conclusions: Secundum ASD closure by LMT has become as standard and safe an operation as the conventional technique and achieves good perioperative results and satisfactory long-term outcomes. Thus LMT is an attractive option for patients who are not suitable for closure using catheter-based devices.