Pulmonary Artery Sealing With an Ultrasonic Energy Device in Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery Lobectomy: An Animal Survival Study

Ann Thorac Surg. 2016 Oct;102(4):1088-94. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2016.04.050. Epub 2016 Jun 24.


Background: Pulmonary artery (PA) sealing in video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) lobectomy is typically accomplished using vascular endostaplers. Endostaplers may be associated with iatrogenic PA branch injury, especially in short, small PA branches. We evaluated PA branch sealing with the HARMONIC ACE +7 (ACE) shears (Ethicon, Cincinnati, OH) in VATS lobectomy in a canine survival model.

Methods: Ten adult dogs underwent VATS lobectomy. Standard VATS lobectomy operative technique was used for the entire operation, except for PA branch sealing. The ACE was used for all PA branch sealing. Dogs were kept alive for 30 days.

Results: The 10 dogs underwent VATS right upper (n = 5) and right lower (n = 5) lobectomy. The ACE was used to seal 21 PA branches. No PA branch was divided with an endostapler. There were no intraoperative complications or conversions to thoracotomy. Mean in vivo PA diameter was 5.6 mm (range, 2 to 12 mm). One 10-mm PA branch had a partial seal failure immediately at the time of sealing. The device was reapplied on the stump, and the PA branch was successfully sealed. All dogs survived 30 days without hemothorax. Necropsy at 30 days did not reveal any signs of postoperative bleeding. Pathology of the sealed PA branches at 30 days revealed fibrosis, giant cell reaction, neovascularization, and thermal changes of the vessel wall.

Conclusions: The use of the ACE for PA branch sealing in VATS lobectomy is safe and effective in an animal survival model. Human studies are needed to determine the clinical safety of ultrasonic PA branch sealing before widespread clinical use.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Dogs
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Hemostatic Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Models, Animal
  • Pneumonectomy / methods*
  • Pneumonectomy / mortality
  • Pulmonary Artery / surgery*
  • Random Allocation
  • Surgical Staplers
  • Survival Analysis
  • Thoracic Surgery, Video-Assisted / methods
  • Thoracic Surgery, Video-Assisted / mortality*
  • Ultrasonics*