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Journal: Interactive cardiovascular and thoracic surgery


A 46-year old male patient was admitted with a history of an extremely painful right upper arm, associated with unilateral clubbing. Duplex scanning and magnetic resonance imaging were suggestive of a pseudo-aneurysm of the brachial artery. Digital angiography showed an irregular brachial artery, associated with a small pseudo-aneurysm. The brachial artery was partially resected and reconstructed with a venous interposition graft. Pathological examination provided the final diagnosis of fibromuscular dysplasia. Although more encountered in women, this case report describes the occurrence of fibromuscular dysplasia in an unusual location in a male patient with a long-term follow-up.

Concepts: X-ray, Blood pressure, Medical imaging, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Humerus, Radiology, Brachial plexus


OBJECTIVESThe Trifecta valve (St. Jude Medical) was introduced into clinical practice as a tri-leaflet stented pericardial valve designed for supra-annular placement in the aortic position. The present study aims to evaluate the preliminary results with this new bioprosthesis.METHODSSeventy patients underwent aortic valve replacement (AVR) with the Trifecta valve between August 2010 and December 2011. Thirty-three patients were male and 37 were female (52.9%). Mean age was 74.65 ± 7.63 (range 47-90 years). Prevalent cause of AVR was aortic stenosis in 64 (91.43%) patients. The mean preoperative pressure gradient was 50 ± 17 (range 20-84 mmHg), and the mean aortic valve area was 0.77 ± 0.33. Five (7.14%) patients were operated on due to aortic valve endocarditis. One patient was operated on due to isolated, severe aortic insufficiency. All patients were in New York Heart Association functional class III or IV. Twenty-eight (40%) patients underwent concomitant procedures.RESULTSConcomitant procedures were coronary artery bypass grafting (n = 25), mitral valve replacement (n = 1), ablation of atrial fibrillation (n = 1) and septal myomectomy (n = 1). There were no intraoperative deaths. The 30-day in-hospital mortality was 2.85% (2 of 70). One late death occurred during the in-hospital stay due to a multiorgan failure on postoperative day 60. There were 2 (2.85%) perioperative strokes. Mean pressure gradient decreased significantly from a preoperative value of 50 ± 17 mmHg to an intraoperative gradient of 9 ± 4 mmHg (Table 3). The mean gradients were 14, 11, 11, 8 and 6 mmHg for the 19, 21, 23, 25 and 27 mm valve size, respectively. No prosthesis dislocation, endocarditis, valve thrombosis or relevant aortic regurgitation was observed at discharge.CONCLUSIONSThe initial experience with the Trifecta valve bioprosthesis shows excellent outcomes with favourable early haemodynamics. Further studies with longer follow-up are needed to confirm those preliminary results.

Concepts: Cardiology, Heart, Mitral valve prolapse, Aortic valve, Valvular heart disease, Aortic valve stenosis, Aortic valve replacement, Aortic insufficiency


OBJECTIVESSternal wound complications following median sternotomy remain a challenge in cardiac surgery. Changes in both patient profile and type of operations have been observed in recent years. Therefore, we analysed current wound healing complications after median sternotomy at our centre.METHODSAll adult patients undergoing a median sternotomy between January 2009 and April 2011 were included in this retrospective analysis. Transplants and assist devices implantations were omitted. We assessed outcome, prognostic factors and microbiological results of standardized wound swabs.RESULTSIn total, 1297 patients with an average age of 67.0 ± 12.7 years were analysed. Operation types included 598 solitary coronary artery bypass grafts (CABGs), 213 solitary valve procedures, 105 CABGs with aortic valve replacement and 116 solitary aortic operations or conduit implantations. Furthermore, 255 of the remaining 265 were combined or otherwise complex procedures. Superficial healing disorders occurred in 43 patients (3.3%), while 33 (2.5%) developed deep wound complications. Six patients with sternal wound complications (7.9%) died in-hospital. In 7 patients, no pathogen was identified and the wound appeared uninfected (21% of all deep complications or 0.05% of all patients). These healing disorders were considered deep dehiscences. Patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, BMI of >40 kg/m(2) and who underwent reoperation were prone to superficial infections. Risk factors for all deep sternal wound complications were insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, COPD and reoperation. Moreover, multivariate analysis revealed ‘emergency’ as an independent prognostic factor for all sternal wound complications. Microbial swabs of the sternal wound were taken in 82 of the 1297 patients (6.6%). Pathogens of the normal skin flora represented the majority of pathogens in both superficial and deep wound complications. Eight patients with deep, but only 2 patients with superficial complications suffered from polymicrobial infections. All deep polymicrobial infections involved coagulase-negative Staphylococci.CONCLUSIONSWound complications following median sternotomy remain a challenge to cardiac surgery. Redo and emergency operations are the most important risk factors in this contemporary series. More efforts seem mandatory to decrease this arduous morbidity and the costs of prolonged treatment.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Insulin, Diabetes mellitus, Heart, Sternum, Wound, Coronary artery bypass surgery, Median sternotomy


OBJECTIVESA sternal-sparing approach for bilateral lung transplantation was recently applied to reoperative lung transplant cases and is compared with the traditional clamshell approach.METHODSA retrospective analysis of 15 consecutive reoperative bilateral lung transplants performed from January 2008 to April 2011 was conducted. Outcomes were compared between the first 11 patients who underwent the traditional clamshell and the most recent 4 patients who underwent the sternal-sparing approach.RESULTSThe indication for retransplantation was obliterative bronchiolitis in all patients. Both groups were similar with regard to age, allograft ischaemic time and operative time. Cardiopulmonary bypass was more frequent in the sternal-sparing group although required for a shorter period of time. The need for postoperative extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for primary graft dysfunction was similar in both groups. The length of ICU care and total hospitalization length of stay were similar for the sternal-sparing group compared with the traditional clamshell approach. Operative mortality and overall survival also did not differ.CONCLUSIONSReoperative bilateral lung transplantation with a sternal-sparing approach is feasible and may yield outcomes similar to those in the traditional clamshell approach. Further analysis with larger numbers of patients is warranted to delineate the benefits of this approach for patients requiring reoperative lung transplantation.

Concepts: Time, Pulmonology, Pleural effusion, Organ transplant, Cardiopulmonary bypass, Lung transplantation, Bronchiolitis obliterans, Extracorporeal


OBJECTIVESThe effect of the lunar cycle and seasonal variation on ascending aortic dissection surgery outcomes is unknown. We investigated these temporal effects on risk-adjusted hospital mortality and then on the length of stay (LOS) following surgery for survivors.METHODSWe examined prospectively collected data from cardiac operations at two major centres within a single state between January 1996 and December 2011. We first examined the relationship between the lunar cycle and seasonal variation, along with demographic and risk profile covariates, with mortality using univariate analyses, followed by multiple logistic regression modelling that controlled for demographic and patient risk variables including age, gender, risk profile (diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidaemia and renal failure), and two surgical groups: Group A, consisting of patients having repair of ascending aorta dissection repair only, and Group B, with those having ascending aorta repair plus aortic valve surgery or coronary bypass surgery or both. We further examined the relationship with LOS using both univariate and multiple regression analyses.RESULTSThere were 210 patients who had repair of dissection in the study period, with 109 patients in Group A and 101 in Group B. The average age of this sample was 59.5 (standard deviation = 16.0), 65.7% were male and 18.1% died prior to discharge following repair. The greatest percentage of deaths occurred in winter (31.6%, n = 12), while the least were in summer (21.1%, n = 8) and fall (21.1%, n = 8). An overall χ(2) test found there was no difference in mortality for season (P = 0.55). Univariate analyses also found the age of patients who died vs lived was significantly higher (65.9 vs 58.1 years; P = 0.001), and a significantly greater (P = 0.029) percentage of patients with diabetes vs without diabetes died (41.7 vs 16.7%). Univariate analyses found all other covariates were not significantly related to mortality. In the multiple logistic regression model, there was no significant effect for season, while the odds of dying increased with age (odds ratio [OR] = 1.04, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 1.01-1.07, P = 0.012), and the odds of dying in the full-moon cycle vs the new moon cycle was significantly reduced (OR = 0.21, 95% CI = 0.05-0.81, P = 0.024). No other covariate significantly increased or decreased the odds of death, including diabetes risk, which had been significantly related to death in the univariate analysis. Within a linear regression model that examined the relationship with LOS, Group B (P = 0.020), male sex (P = 0.036) and the full-moon lunar phase (P = 0.001) were significantly related to shorter LOS.CONCLUSIONSSeason had no effect on mortality or LOS following aortic dissection repair, while patient age significantly increased the odds of death. The full-moon cycle appeared to reduce the odds of death, and the full-moon cycle, along with being male and requiring a concomitant cardiac procedure, was associated with shorter LOS.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Linear regression, Death, Econometrics, Multivariate adaptive regression splines, Aortic dissection, Aorta, Errors and residuals in statistics


Simulation has become an integral part of thoracic surgical training that has been proven to improve residents' skills. The purpose of the current study was to develop a low-fidelity and low-cost simulator for aortic root surgery that could provide training in multiple aortic valve and root procedures.


Surgical correction of pectus excavatum (PE) has shifted to the modern minimally invasive Nuss procedure, which proved to be safe and effective. In order to restore the dented deformity, custom-curved metal bars provide continuous retrosternal pressure but cross the habitat of the internal mammary arteries (IMAs) directly affecting their patency. In this initial report, we sought to assess the patency of the IMAs in the first 6 patients who underwent Nuss bar removal in our department.

Concepts: Pectus excavatum, Minimally invasive, Pressure, Pectus carinatum, Internal thoracic artery, Human appearance


We report here the indications and the results of a surgical option associating a Damus procedure with a ‘Réparation à l'Etage Ventriculaire’ (REV)/Rastelli procedure, for anatomical repair of patients presenting with complex transposition of great arteries (TGA), restrictive/remote ventricular septal defect (VSD) and pulmonary stenosis (PS). Five consecutive patients (median age: 11 months (range: 20 days to 15 years)) presenting with complex TGA-VSD-PS and anatomical lesions resulting in a contraindication to a Nikaidoh procedure were included. Two of them presented with a postoperative restrictive left ventricle-to-aorta baffle and secondarily underwent a modified Damus procedure a few days after the REV or Rastelli procedure. In the other 3 patients, the Damus procedure was primarily performed at the time of the REV or Rastelli procedure. No death occurred. At the last follow-up (mean: 31 ± 37 months), all patients displayed an excellent functional status and an unobstructed left ventricular outflow tract in echocardiography. Associating a Damus procedure with a REV/Rastelli procedure can be considered as an effective and low-risk surgical option to extend the indications for anatomical repair in patients with complex TGA-VSD-PS and anatomical findings precluding other surgical options.

Concepts: Heart, Surgery, Physician, Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Congenital heart disease, Ventricular septal defect, Transposition of the great vessels, The Rev


Professor Archibald Cochrane (1909-1988) is considered to be the originator of the idea of evidence-based medicine in our era. With his landmark book ‘Effectiveness and Efficiency: Random Reflections on Health services’ he managed to inspire and positively influence the medical society with respect to the proper assessment of reliable evidence for the provision of the best medical care. His vision combined with his scientific achievements can be considered as the foundation of the Cochrane Collaboration; named after him in recognition of and gratitude for his pioneering work. We present the highlights of his adventurous and vibrant personal and academic life in an attempt to honour his contribution to shaping modern medical research.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Evidence-based medicine, Cochrane Collaboration, Systematic review, Cochrane Library, Archie Cochrane, Healthcare quality


The protective effects of late-phase preconditioning can be triggered by several stimuli. Unfortunately, the transfer from bench to bedside still represents a challenge, as concomitant medication or diseases influence the complex signalling pathways involved. In an established model of primary neonatal rat cardiomyocytes, we analysed the cardioprotective effects of three different stimulating pharmaceuticals of clinical relevance. The effect of additional β-blocker treatment was studied as these were previously shown to negatively influence preconditioning.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medicine, Effect, Effectiveness, Vascular endothelial growth factor, Effects unit, Pharmaceutical drug, Food and Drug Administration