Objective: This study was done to determine the potential benefits of minimally invasive mitral surgery performed with intraoperative video assistance.
Methods: From May 1996 until March 1997, a minithoracotomy and video assistance were used in 31 consecutive patients undergoing mitral repair (n = 20) and replacement (n = 11). Their ages ranged from 18 to 77 years (59 +/- 2.6 years; mean +/- standard error of the mean). Ejection fractions were 35% to 62% (55% +/- 1.5%). Operations were done with either antegrade/retrograde (n = 10) or antegrade (n = 19) cold blood cardioplegia and a new transthoracic crossclamp or with ventricular fibrillation (n = 2). Peripheral arterial cannulation (n = 28) and pump-assisted right atrial drainage (n = 26) were used most often.
Results: No hospital deaths occurred, but the 30-day mortality was 3.2%. Complications included deep venous thrombosis and a phrenic nerve palsy in one patient each. No patient had a stroke or required reoperation for bleeding. Postoperative echocardiography showed excellent valve function in all but one patient. Cardiopulmonary bypass and arrest times averaged 183 +/- 7.2 and 136 +/- 5.5 minutes, respectively. Compared with 100 patients having conventional mitral valve operations, these patients had significantly shorter hospitalization times (8.6 +/- 0.5 vs 5.1 +/- 0.9 days, p = 0.05). Moreover, 81% of the later cohort were discharged between day 3 and 5 (3.6 +/- 0.2 days). Hospital charges (decreases 27%, p = 0.05) and costs (decreases 34%, p < 0.05) were less than in conventional operations. Patient follow-up suggested minimal perioperative pain and rapid recovery.
Conclusions: Early results suggest that video-assisted minimally invasive mitral operations can be done safely. These methods may benefit patients through less morbidity, earlier discharge, and lower cost.