Objective: Most aortic valve replacements are by conventional full median sternotomy. Less invasive approaches have been developed with partial upper sternotomy (ministernotomy).
Methods: Systematic review and meta-analysis were performed with studies comparing ministernotomy and full sternotomy for aortic valve replacement.
Results: Twenty-six studies were selected, with 4586 patients with aortic valve replacement (2054 ministernotomy, 2532 full sternotomy). There was no difference in mortality (odds ratio 0.71, 95% confidence interval 0.49-1.02). Ministernotomy had longer crossclamp and bypass times (weighted mean difference 7.90 minutes, 95% confidence interval 3.50-10.29 minutes, and 11.46 minutes, 95% confidence interval 5.26-17.65 minutes, respectively). Both intensive care unit and hospital stays were shorter with ministernotomy (weighted mean difference -0.46 days, 95% confidence interval -0.72 to -0.20 days, and -0.91 days, 95% confidence interval -1.45 to -0.37 days, respectively). Ministernotomy had shorter ventilation time and less blood loss within 24 hours (weighted mean difference -2.1 hours, 95% confidence interval -2.95 to -1.30 hours, and -79 mL, 95% confidence interval -23 to 136 mL, respectively). Randomized studies tended to demonstrate no difference between ministernotomy and full sternotomy. Rate of conversion from partial to conventional sternotomy was 3.0% (95% confidence interval 1.8%-.4%).
Conclusion: Ministernotomy can be performed safely for aortic valve replacement, without increased risk of death or other major complication; however, few objective advantages have been shown. Surgeons must conduct well-designed, prospective studies of relevant, consistent clinical outcomes to determine the role of ministernotomy in cardiac surgery.