Background: Transapical implantation of artificial chordae using the NeoChord system (NeoChord Inc, Minneapolis, MN) is an emerging beating-heart technique for correction of mitral regurgitation (MR) through a minimally invasive left minithoracotomy. The purpose of the study was to describe the anesthetic management and procedural success of patients undergoing this procedure.
Methods: All patients (n = 76) who underwent mitral valve repair with the NeoChord system in our institution from December 2011 to December 2016 were included in this observational prospective study. Balanced anesthesia with a combination of fentanyl, propofol, and sevoflurane was used in all patients. Each patient's core temperature was maintained at >36°C whenever possible. Two- and 3-dimensional transesophageal echocardiography was used in all patients to navigate the device to the posterior mitral valve leaflet (68 of 76 patients), anterior mitral valve leaflet (3 of 76 patients), or both leaflets (5 of 76 patients). After effective leaflet capture, the artificial chordae were deployed. Position and function of the artificial chordae were assessed by evaluating the degree of MR when the neochordae were tensed. After surgery, all patients were transferred to the intensive care unit.
Results: The mean age of the patients was 60 ± 13 years (range, 33-87 years), and the male/female ratio was 52/24. Most patients had severe MR (grade 4+ in 25 [33%] patients, grade 3+ in 51 [67%] patients). The average preoperative EuroSCORE II was 1.23% ± 1.16% (range, 0.46%-4.23%). The median duration of the procedure was 120 minutes (interquartile range [IQR] 115-145 minutes). After the procedure, 42 (56%) patients had trivial MR, 27 (36%) had grade 1+ MR, 4 (5%) had grade 2+ MR, and 2 (3%) had >2+ MR. One patient underwent conversion to conventional mitral valve repair due to perforation of the posterior mitral valve leaflet. The whole procedure was well tolerated by the patients, with hemodynamics remaining stable in the majority of the cases. Only 20 (26%) patients needed low-dose inotropic support perioperatively. All patients had an uneventful postoperative course. The median time to extubation was 4 hours (IQR, 2.6-6), and the length of intensive care unit stay was 22 hours (IQR, 21-24). Five (6.6%) patients required allogeneic blood products.
Conclusions: Anesthesia for transapical NeoChord implantation can be safely performed under beating-heart conditions, with low perioperative morbidity and rare blood transfusions. Transesophageal echocardiography is crucial for the guidance, safety, and effectiveness of the procedure.