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Evolution of Cannulation Techniques for Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery: A 10-Year Journey

Chan, Edward Y. MD; Lumbao, Dennis M. MBA, BA; Iribarne, Alexander MD; Easterwood, Rachel BA; Yang, Jonathan Y. MD; Cheema, Faisal H. MD; Smith, Craig R. MD; Argenziano, Michael MD

Innovations: Technology & Techniques in Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery: January/February 2012 - Volume 7 - Issue 1 - p 9–14
doi: 10.1097/IMI.0b013e318253369a
Original Articles

Objective: For minimally invasive cardiac surgery (MICS) procedures requiring cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB), cannulation techniques vary and seem to be important determinants of technical difficulty and clinical outcomes. Over 10 years of MICS, we have modified our techniques substantially, and the present report outlines the evolution of our current cannulation platform.

Methods: From October 2000 to November 2010, 1087 minimally invasive cardiac procedures were performed at our institution; of these, 165 were done without CPB and were excluded. Methods of arterial and venous cannulation and aortic occlusion were retrospectively reviewed. Outcomes of interest included CPB and aortic cross-clamp time, as well as rates of in-hospital stroke, myocardial infarction, and short- and long-term mortality.

Results: The mean age of the study population was 57 ± 15 years, with 50% being men. The MICS procedures included mitral valve surgery, atrial septal defect repair, atrial fibrillation ablation, and cardiac tumor resections. Over the study period, peripheral arterial cannulation was replaced by central aortic cannulation, which was used in 33% of patients in 2000–2001 and 93% in 2008–2010. Venous cannulation strategies also evolved over time, from percutaneous neck and femoral (78% of cases from 2000–2005), to direct superior vena cava and percutaneous femoral (67% in 2006–2007), to percutaneous dual-stage femoral (51% in 2008–2010). Aortic occlusion was achieved by endoaortic balloon in 33% of cases in 2000–2001 but, by 2002, was replaced by transaxillary clamp occlusion and direct antegrade/retrograde cardioplegia. In the post-endoballoon era, CPB and cross-clamp times have remained consistent. Overall, there were nine strokes (<1.0%), no myocardial infarctions, and 18 deaths (2.0%) within 30 days of surgery, and the incidence of these outcomes has not changed over time.

Conclusions: Over 10 years, our cannulation strategy for MICS has evolved to favor central aortic over femoral arterial cannulation, percutaneous femoral dual-stage bicaval venous drainage over percutaneous neck access, and transaxillary clamping over endoaortic balloon occlusion of the aorta. In our experience, this approach has resulted in low complication rates and a reliable platform for a variety of MICS procedures.

From the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY USA.

Accepted for publication January 10, 2012.

Presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society for Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery, June 8–11, 2011, Washington, DC USA.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Edward Y. Chan, MD, 17-415 P&S Building, 630 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032 USA. E-mail:

Copyright © 2012 by the International Society for Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.