Utility of Cervical Cannulation During Difficult Resternotomy in Congenital Heart Surgery

World J Pediatr Congenit Heart Surg. 2020 Jan;11(1):65-70. doi: 10.1177/2150135119888154.


Background: Adhesions due to previous surgeries and some anatomical difficulties may make resternotomy dangerous in children. Femoral vessels are usually small and may not be suitable for cannulation. The aim of this report is to describe our experience with cervical cannulation during risky resternotomy in children.

Methods: Between January 2014 and January 2018, cervical cannulation was performed in eight pediatric patients during sternal reentry. Their ages were between 3 months and 17 years (mean: 5.4 years). Three patients underwent stage III extracardiac Fontan operation with the diagnosis of hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Three patients had supravalvular aortic and/or pulmonary stenosis after previous arterial switch operation. One patient had proximal aortic arch stenosis and subvalvular aortic stenosis after interrupted aortic arch repair. The last patient had aortic root pseudoaneurysm and aortic insufficiency due to endocarditis. Through a separate cervical incision, a polytetrafluoroethylene graft was anastomosed to the common carotid artery and the arterial cannula was inserted into the graft. Antegrade selective cerebral perfusion (ASCP) was used in two patients.

Results: During resternotomies, no major injury or bleeding occurred. Three-month-old patient who had previous interrupted aortic arch repair died despite extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support due to sepsis and multi-organ failure. Median intensive care unit stay and hospital stay were 3 days (1-40 days) and 17 days (7-60 days), respectively. Mean follow-up was 17.9 ± 15.8 months. All patients were in good clinical condition.

Conclusions: Cervical cannulation may be a useful and safe technique during high-risk resternotomy in children. This technique may also simplify the performance of ASCP if necessary.

Keywords: cardiopulmonary bypass; carotid arteries; congenital heart disease; congenital heart surgery; sternum.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aneurysm, False / diagnostic imaging
  • Aneurysm, False / etiology
  • Aorta, Thoracic / surgery
  • Aortic Coarctation / surgery
  • Aortic Valve Insufficiency / surgery
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / etiology
  • Cardiopulmonary Bypass / methods
  • Catheterization / methods*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Neck
  • Perfusion / methods
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Sternotomy / adverse effects
  • Sternotomy / methods*